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News Release: Business Council applauds budget for providing sound fiscal framework - Global competitiveness requires greater focus on skills training, efficient regulatory processes and effective tax structures
February 18, 2014 (Victoria, BC) – The Business Council of British Columbia applauds today’s provincial budget in which the government delivered on the commitment to keep the operating budget balanced and to manage the overall provincial debt, preserving BC’s Triple A credit rating.
“As the province moves into surplus and focuses on realizing new economic opportunities, there will need to be definitive action taken to ensure both new development opportunities and ongoing business operations are more competitive,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia. “This focus on competitiveness will need to encompass infrastructure, human resources, regulatory systems and taxation policies that enable success in a highly competitive world.”
“A sound fiscal framework is an important foundation to support long term economic growth. It must be noted that British Columbia has been more successful than other provinces in effectively managing its costs,” said Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President of the Business Council of British Columbia. “While BC’s strong fiscal position is a plus in the eyes of potential investors, the global competition for capital and high value business activity is intense. This budget sends some positive signals, but more needs to be done in the areas of labour supply and skills, business tax burdens, strengthening the knowledge economy, and the cost and efficiency of regulatory processes if we are to succeed in building a more prosperous province.”
“We support the province’s considerable efforts to realize a globally competitive LNG industry – this is an unprecedented potential investment opportunity for the province,” said D’Avignon. “However, BC is competing with many other jurisdictions to attract the vast amounts of capital required to build the LNG sector and meet rising Asian demand for energy with cleaner burning natural gas. Over the coming months, it will be important for government to work closely with LNG proponents to ensure the competitive test of all-in cost comparisons with other global alternative projects is successfully met. The new LNG tax is only one component of this comparison.”
“As British Columbia continues to advance into the competitive global marketplace, government must look to mitigate the damage done by the recent shift back to the antiquated Provincial Sales Tax,” said Finlayson. “Restoration of the PST has significantly increased both production and tax compliance costs for many tens of thousands of our businesses, including manufacturers, resource companies, the transport sector, and the film industry. Going forward, the government needs to take additional steps to reduce the PST-related costs being incurred by industries in BC.”
Visit www.BCBC.com in the coming days for the Business Council’s complete analysis of BC Budget 2014.
The Business Council of British Columbia, now in its 48th year as the premier business organization in BC, is a non-partisan organization made up of 250 leading companies, post-secondary institutions and organizations from across BC’s diverse economy which supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the province.
Cheryl Maitland Muir
Business Council of British Columbia