The provincial government’s budget failed to send a strong signal to businesses that government understands the challenges they have recently faced, according to the Kelowna Chamber.
“We were hoping to see tax relief for small businesses which have continued to see increases in the cost of doing business throughout the pandemic,” said Jeffery Robinson, chamber president. “Providing tax relief was among the top items the Kelowna Chamber referenced in its pre-budget submission to government last fall.”
A statement from the Chamber added the budget may get a passing grade from some for its focus on continued pandemic recovery and renewed efforts to address climate change, however, it missed an opportunity.
“Unfortunately, the budget provides very little to get small business excited and certainly doesn’t stimulate entrepreneurship to the degree we were hoping for,” said Robinson.
Tuesday’s (Feb. 22) budget included funding commitments for emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, climate action and homelessness.
The Chamber statement said these are subjects that will resonate well with local government, including the City of Kelowna. The city has been pushing for funding for a complex care facility, something the Chamber has been supporting as a means to help those with mental health and drug addiction issues who are living on the streets.
The Chamber was also pleased government has set aside additional funding to assist the tourism sector in recovering from the pandemic.