The Surrey Board of Trade spoke to the BC Government’s Standing Committee of Finance today at the Sheraton Hotel in Surrey. In preparation for the 2014 BC Budget, the Surrey Board of Trade spoke on their priorities, which included addressing funding disparities to transportation, health care and education in Surrey and the South Fraser Region.
With respect to Taxation “We find one of the most worrisome situations is that BC is at the top of the provincial list of “Marginal Effective Tax Rates in Canada”, said Anita Huberman CEO Surrey Board of Trade.
The Surrey Board of Trade said that in a tougher fiscal environment the solution to create a better economy is not achieved through increasing taxes. “Hold back on the tax and the increased economy will return that and more to the government in the end. It’s much more sustainable because it will encourage new investment in our economy”, said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade.
The Surrey Board of Trade wants to see the recommendations of the BC Government’s Expert Panel on Tax, specifically on administrative improvements to the PST, to be implemented.
In the area of transportation, the expense of the referendum and the quality of the results from the referendum were highlights.
In the area of health care, improvements to Surrey Memorial Hospital, and the development of the Pattison Centre have been wonderful, but it is still far short of what this region deserves and requires. The Surrey Board of Trade’s initial research indicates that despite there being a million people in Surrey and the South Fraser, per capita funding for Fraser Health is still 50% below funding levels of the rest of the province.
In the area of education, the Surrey Board of Trade wants a tripling of funding for Kwantlen! Right now, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Simon Fraser University-Surrey together can offer only 12.7 post-secondary spaces for every 100 people 18-24 years-old in our region. The rest of B.C. receives almost 4 times that level of access, with 48.7 spaces for every 100 young adults.
The Surrey Board of Trade urged the Ministry of Finance to implement additional funding and pointed out that it is the responsibility of our elected representatives to provide at least equal funding to Surrey and the South Fraser region-the source of the lion’s share of our province’s future workforce. “And this workforce must be properly prepared to undertake the challenge if we are to grow our economy!”