Finance Minister Kevin Falcon reviews his government's budget performance in the last decade

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon reviews his government's budget performance in the last decade

B.C. budget taxes business, caps spending

The government is restricting spending increases and keeping its small business income tax alive to meet its balanced budget target.

VICTORIA – The B.C. government is restricting spending increases and keeping its small business income tax alive to meet its balanced budget target before the 2013 election.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon presented his first budget Tuesday, with a deficit of $969 million for the fiscal year starting April 1, as B.C. pays to end the harmonized sales tax. His three-year plan predicts a $154 million surplus in 2013-14 and $250 million surplus the following year.

To do that, the budget aims to hold government spending growth down to two per cent for three years, with most of it going to health and education. That leaves most other ministries with little or no increase for inflation, a restriction that is expected to reduce overall B.C. government staff from about 27,000 this year to 25,000 by 2014-15.

Falcon also reversed course on business taxes. The government has been promising for years that it would eliminate the small business income tax this spring, after lowering it to the current 2.5 per cent. Now it will continue at 2.5 per cent until B.C.’s financial picture improves.

Falcon is also considering a one per cent increase in the general corporate tax rate to 11 per cent, but not for another year depending on financial conditions. That move positions the B.C. Liberals politically for an election against NDP leader Adrian Dix, who has called for a corporate tax increase.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business spokesperson Shachi Kurl said business people understand the need for government revenue, but the extra tax burden will affect investment.

The last scheduled carbon tax increase will go ahead on July, from 5.56 cents on a litre of gasoline to 6.67 cents. The budget holds that level while a review of the carbon tax program looks at the rate and offsetting income tax cuts.

Falcon promised carbon tax relief soon for greenhouse operators, and hinted at additional help for other farmers.

The cash-strapped government is putting surplus provincial assets up for sale starting next year, including a seven-hectare property north of Kelowna that was proposed for a new Okanagan correctional centre before a new site near Oliver was chosen. Another six-hectare parcel in Surrey is to be sold, along with about 100 others around the province, many of them school properties.

The budget also reveals a plan to sell B.C.’s liquor distribution system and warehouses to a private operator.  Falcon called the move “an opportunity to get out of a business we don’t have to be in,” as well as a way to raise money. Falcon said the deal will protect union workers in the transition to a private wholesaler. Government retail liquor stores are not affected.

Liquor and tobacco taxes will be adjusted to keep prices the same once the HST is phased out.

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

sdaf
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

Festivals Kelowna president Richard Groves and executive director Renata Mills wrap themselves in the flag during the announcement of preparations for the 2018 Canada Day festival. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)
Festivals Kelowna cancels Canada Day celebrations for second year in a row

The group cited logistic issues in their announcement

Central Okanagan Public Schools is assisting with the distribution of a donation of $500 to every Grade 12 graduating student in the school district. (File photo)
Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads get $500 surprise

Anonymous donor gifts $500 to every Grade 12 student

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Smoke has been showing since earlier in the day

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read