(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.

Just Posted

UPDATED: 98-year-old cyclist in critical condition after struck by car

83-year-old driver stayed on scene and did not suffer any injuries in the incident

Jewelry thieves use distraction tactics to target seniors in Abbotsford

Two incidents reported are among similar thefts across Lower Mainland

Abbotsford man guilty of pilfering $36,000 from Mission gun shop

Former employee Tyson Gamberg processed 172 fraudulent refunds

Fruit Beer Festival announced for Abbotsford this summer

More than 25 beers expected from 15 breweries

Abbotsford airport raking in millions, two decades after being bought for $10

City-owned Abbotsford International Airport made $3.8 million last year

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

WATCH: Popular Glow festival faces cancellation in dispute over farm land

Langley’s Darvonda Nurseries received a compliance assessment notice from the ALC on March 5.

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read