BC Budget Good for Housing and Childcare on the Backs of Business
(Tri-Cities) February 21, 2018 – The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce recognizes the provincial government’s commitment to affordable housing and childcare but is concerned to the burden being applied to business.
Affordable housing and childcare have been noted as two of the main issues that residents are challenged with. Over $6 billion has been committed to stabilizing the housing market over the next 10 years. The stabilization is a win for small business owners as a key challenge is addressed: attracting and retaining talent.
The opportunity to widen the labour market won’t come without a cost. Due to the Employer Health Tax, employers will be expected to take on the full burden of MSP premiums, totaling $1.92 billion by the fiscal year 2020.
However, this is only one of the many increases businesses across the province are facing. Beyond the Employer Health Tax, businesses are also subject to an increased carbon tax and corporate tax rate. Additionally, the minimum wage is on the gradual rise to $15 per hour.
“Business’ bottom lines are being hit – hard,” says Michael Hind, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber, “with a payroll tax of 1.95% of the labour cost, the government is discouraging employers from hiring, increasing wages, and increasing hours.”
BC has enjoyed its strong economy, producing record surpluses year over year that contribute to a rainy day fund for when times get tough. A downward trend has been forecasted over the next three years, with the surplus dropping from in excess of $2B to $200M, and the budget balanced with no margin for error, the government has limited its support tools.
Canada’s biggest trading partner and biggest competitor for talent is moving in the exact opposite direction with respect to taxation and regulation. This widening gap will hurt businesses and ultimately their employees.
In order for our economy to thrive, businesses need to remain competitive in the national and global markets and be optimistic about their future. This budget does not provide this needed optimism and instead provides an uncertain outlook for the future of business.
The balanced BC Budget addresses housing and childcare concerns but the underlying burden being placed on businesses may have a negative impact overall.
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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