TRI-CITIES, February 22, 2017 — The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is optimistic with the announcements in the BC Budget 2017. Commitments to housing, investment in transportation, reduction to small business tax rates and cuts to MSP premiums address some of the key issues raised by our members in our September Survey on Provincial Budget Priorities and in our Pre-Budget Submission to the Province.

In housing, the Provincial budget commits to working with municipalities to stimulate new housing supply as a long term strategy to address our poor housing affordability. In addition, a 50% cut to MSP premiums for families making up to $120,000 per year will provide some relief for the high cost of living experienced by Tri-Cities residents.

“Housing and Cost of Living are definitely top priorities for our members,” said Carlo Zarillo, 2017 Board Chair for the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. “Seeing the commitment to increasing housing supply and cutting MSP premiums in half will have an impact on the affordability of the Tri-Cities.”

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is also pleased to see $731 million allocated over three years for transit infrastructure. Transit and Transportation was listed as a key issue for our members.

The Tri-Cities Chamber ecstatically welcomes the various supports for small business in BC Budget 2017. Most notably the reduction in the small business corporate tax income rate from 2.5% to 2% is sure to provide relief to small businesses. BC Budget also plans to eliminate PST on electricity starting in 2019, saving small- and medium-sized businesses approximately $50 million per year. The small business corporate tax reduction along with the elimination of PST on electricity will provide a huge benefit for small businesses in the Tri-Cities and across BC.

“Seeing the measures in this budget to support small businesses is very exciting,” said Michael Hind, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. “Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy, especially here in the Tri-Cities. To see this kind of relief will help our local economy thrive.”

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has also long advocated for more mental health and addictions services on the Riverview Lands. In BC Budget 2017, we are pleased to see $176 million in capital funding to build a Centre for Mental Health and Addictions with 105 beds for the Severely Addicted and Mentally Ill patient population on the Riverview Lands in addition to a new facility to accommodate the 28-bed Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre and the 10-bed Provincial Assessment Centre. We hope to see more investment in mental health and addictions facilities to increase capacity on the Riverview lands in the coming years.

To see the Tri-Cities Chamber Pre-Budget Submission, click here.

About the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce:

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a proactive network of business-minded individuals that are committed to acting as an accessible, visible, supportive and reciprocal resource to our members and the Tri-Cities at large, communicating their collective voice to help shape a prosperous business community. 

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For further information, please contact:

Stephanie Rennie, Communications & Digital Marketing
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce
T: 604.468.6874