(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

The B.C. government’s 2019 budget is getting a generally rosy response from the business community, but with concerns of how the economy will support the NDP’s spending plan.

The budget, released Tuesday, includes no new taxes, but points to increasing property taxes and the carbon tax to, in part, bring government revenue to as high as $2.4-billion.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade gave the budget an overall grade of B-.

“Budget 2019 was a ‘steady as we go’ budget,” CEO Iain Black said in a news release. “However, it is also a budget built and balanced on a series of tax increases made last year that have now started to impact employers.”

Both the board of trade and the Business Council of B.C. agree more support for growing families is a positive way to help combat affordability challenges plaguing communities across the province.

“Economically, though, we are concerned there were few meaningful announcements with respect to productivity, competitiveness, and economic growth,” Black said.

Business Council of B.C. executive vice president Jock Finlayson said in a news release he budget did not acknowledge slower global growth, which has started to already affect B.C. He questions where the NDP plans to pull money from in the future to support its spending.

“British Columbia is not immune to the storm clouds darkening the global economy,” Finlayson said. “In fact, despite several years of solid GDP growth and low unemployment, we are starting to see mixed economic signals in the province, with sluggish retail sales, increased outmigration to other provinces, and a major adjustment underway in housing markets.”

In touting her balanced budget, Finance Minister Carole James said B.C. is thriving, and pointed to further spending announcements in the spring.

The budget includes $750-million in a contingency fund and a $500-million forecast allowance. Surpluses are forecast to increase to $274 million through the fiscal year.

The budget is also based on ICBC’s financial “dumpster fire” will being reversed – in fact making profits – in as little as two years.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business vice president Richard Truscott told Black Press Media the budget also doesn’t do much for small business owners, all of whom are expecting an “incredibly difficult” year because of the new employer health tax, anticipated changes to employment regulations, and the carbon tax going up.

Even businesses in the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan – where the economy has been traditionally strong – are struggling, he said.

“There’s a long list of other things that are hitting small business in a major negative way,” Truscott said. “It would have been nice to see something in this budget, whether it was tax relief or cutting red tape or something to support entrepreneurs in B.C.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. Budget 2019

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 5 southbound lanes are closed near Exit 286. Pictured are southbound lanes at 7:06 p.m. (DriveBC)
Coquihalla Highway southbound lanes closed due to vehicle incident

Southbound lanes closed between Exit 286: Merritt and the start of Hwy 5

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UPDATE: Garage on Lakeshore Road burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

An empty learning space at Kelowna’s Canyon Falls Middle School prior to the school’s opening in fall 2019. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Canyon Falls Middle School

This is the first case of COVID-19 being reported at Canyon Falls Middle School

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna council allocates $8M provincial COVID-19 grant

$5.4 million will be applied to the city’s preliminary 2021 budget

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, families stay at a temporary evacuation center at Catanduanes province, eastern Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Goni hits the country. Families living near coastal towns have moved to evacuation centers as the strong typhoon makes landfall. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)
Okanagan community group organizes fundraiser for typhoon-hit Philippines

Over two million people have been affected by flooding, with about 500,000 forced to leave homes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through South Okanagan fruit stand

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon, closing Highway 97 for two hours

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

A major reconstruction project on 32nd Avenue is nearing completion and the road is now re-opened to traffic between 33rd Street and 35th Street. (City of Vernon photo)
ROAD REPORT: More roundabouts coming to North Okanagan

New intersection lights up Dec. 13, 30th Street paving delayed, PV Road completed in Vernon

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

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
Highway 97 now clear following structure fire near Oliver

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon

Most Read