Budget Update: BC Chamber of Commerce happy but flags potential cumulative effects

THE BC Chamber of Commerce on Monday congratulated the new B.C. government for tabling a balanced budget that looks to invest in our residents while supporting small businesses ability to prosper through targeted tax measures, but warned of a potential cumulative effect to our strong tax competitiveness when viewed in relation to recent federal tax changes.

The 2017 budget update maintains a number of initiatives strongly advocated for by the BC Chamber network to support future economic growth, such as maintaining efforts to make the Provincial Sales Tax more competitive by removing the PST on electricity bills for business and restoring the small business tax benefit for credit unions.

“It’s good to see the provincial government balancing its budget and continuing to invest in a sustainable economy – targeting its investments on reducing the small business tax rate and providing credit unions with a small business tax benefit helps ensure a competitive tax structure for small businesses looking to invest and hire more British Columbians,” said Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

The Budget 2017 update also maintains several targeted initiatives to support further economic development and job creation across the province, including: the 50 per cent reduction of Medical Service Premium, another extension to the Mining Flow-Through Share tax credit measures, and a further increase to the Small Business Venture Capital tax credit. While there are many positive initiatives to advance a sustainable economy, the upcoming increase to corporate tax rates and the carbon tax add another layer of uncertainty at a time of upcoming federal tax changes that will impact overall tax competitiveness that is needed for a strong economy.

“The BC Chamber has always stood up for greater tax competitiveness – and while we applaud the provincial government’s focus on some targeted small business tax relief – the overall tax competitiveness for B.C. is facing uncertainty through tax measures at both the provincial and federal level,” said Litwin. “With higher spending and increased taxpayer supported debt that could impact our AAA credit rating, ensuring tax competitiveness that gives our business owners’ confidence to invest is made more of a necessity in the years ahead.”

The BC Chamber represents more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province.