Kelowna: The Kelowna Chamber watched BC Finance Minister Katrine Conroy’s Budget 2023 presentation and while not giving it an actual letter grade as some have done, the Kelowna Chamber would classify it as “NYC” – as in “Not Yet Complete”, for the missed opportunity to help small businesses that continue to face ever-increasing costs of doing business. Watch the Budget Briefing here: VIDEO
In their morning after de-brief and analysis with financial experts from KPMG, Chamber CEO Dan Rogers says, “It’s a budget focused on helping those most in need but fails to address the immediate concerns of small businesses that are at the heart of local economies.”
Rogers was joined by Marina Warrender and Zach Smith from KPMG who worked through Tuesday evening summarizing the high points of the deficit budget, noting the provincial debt is forecasted to reach $99.5 Billion at the end of 2025/26 and the financial plan includes an $11 billion dollar deficit over the next three-years.
On the plus side $480 million has been sent aside over to the course of the plan to support SMEs through what’s been referred to as the Future Ready Plan that will help with skills training though details of the actual plan have not yet been released. There were several Chamber wins including $77 million over three years to speed up natural resource permitting and $58 million to accelerate approval of foreign credentials for qualified professionals.
“We continue to hear that the cost of doing business is the biggest concern among our members and the business community,” says Rogers. “And with increases to the carbon tax and costs for recruiting and retaining , it looks like things will get even tougher for small businesses in particular.”
The Chamber noted that the cumulative impact of budget increases by every level of government means local businesses have some tough decisions ahead and those rising costs could slow our economic recovery out of the pandemic and negatively impact B.C.’s competitiveness.
For more information:
Dan Rogers, CEO
Following are some highlights from the KPMG presentation, which is available at this link: https://youtu.be/0UdKwONXAWw
Fiscal Plan projections deficits each year of the Financial Plan totalling $11B
Growth projected to come from in-migration to BC and an expanding tax base
Economic Growth was 2.8% in 2022; expected to slow to 0.4% in 2023
Only tax increase is Carbon Tax: $15/tonne annually to $170 in 2030 (currently $50)