Provincial Budget 2018
The BC Budget 2018 reflects a social agenda with meaningful investments in both housing attainability and childcare – two areas of deep interest to our province-wide Chamber network – but it leaves the business community to pick up a $1.92 billion tab on MSP by the fiscal year 2020.
The Whistler Chamber of Commerce welcomes a balanced budget and key investments in housing attainability and available childcare, but business is facing the cumulative effect of crippling tax increases that will challenge their ability to invest and grow. This budget looks like it’s being balanced on the back of business through accumulating tax increases.
Business Highlights from Budget 2018:
- $15.8 billion for critical infrastructure including schools, post-secondary institutions, health facilities, affordable housing, student housing, and transportation
- Over $1 billion to create a universal child care plan (see BC Chamber’s Policy on Addressing Child Care Access)
- $29 million over three years to support the expansion of the agricultural sector (see BC Chamber’s Policy on Business Opportunities for Agrifood/Seafood producers)
- Some of the revenue collected from the Carbon Tax will be focused on support for emissions intense industry to transition to a low-carbon economy (see BC Chamber’s Policy on Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax)
- Rural Dividend funding committed through to 2021 at $25 million a year
Elimination of MSP Premium; Decreased Revenue Replace with “Employer Health Tax”
For businesses, likely the most significant new measure is the replacement of MSP premiums with a payroll tax that will be paid by employers. Effective January 1, 2020, MSP Premium will be eliminated for all British Columbians. To pay for the elimination of the premium, the provincial government will create an “Employer Health Tax.”
While the government put a de minimis of $500,000 or less payroll – and a sliding scale for businesses with payroll between $500,000 and$1.5 million – to minimize the impact on small business, this will still be a $1.92 billion tax increase by 2020.
|Small Business Payroll||Tax as % of Payroll||Revenue hit to bottom line|
When taken in conjunction with the increases to minimum wage and the corporate tax rate, businesses of all sizes are facing the cumulative effect of tax increases that will challenge – if not hinder – their ability to invest and grow, and (ultimately) hire more British Columbians.
We know businesses are feeling the impact of parents that can’t re-enter the workforce due to childcare challenges. Accessible childcare is important for the holistic health of Whistler’s economic community. Investments in affordable childcare directly improve business’s ability to retain and attract employees returning from maternity/parental leave.
- The provincial government will invest $630 million over 3 years to help deliver affordable child care through licensed providers and a further $237 million to create more space.
- The government will look to create 22,000 new licensed child care spaces, including incentives for licensed service providers to offer child care outside standard business hours.
Funding to help build affordable housing and increased rental support programs aligns with the Whistler Chamber’s backing of policy to support affordable housing options.
- The provincial government is investing $1.9 billion over 3 years and our province will see up to $6 billion over 10 years, which will help build affordable housing, including homes for growing families, homes for seniors, housing options for women and children fleeing violence and student housing.
- This total $6 billion investment will result in a total of 33,700 units of housing – over half of those units being affordable rental housing.
- The Whistler Chamber of Commerce is working closely with and supports the efforts of the RMOW and WHA to ensure our community secures funding for future WHA projects.
The Whistler Chamber is proud to partner with Tourism Whistler to produce a new video to help the local business community attract employees. Throughout the summer, labour shortages have presented challenges across all industries in our municipality.
Advocacy in Action returned to the Whistler Chamber boardroom last week. The monthly meeting saw a great turnout, with 13 Members from the Whistler business community getting together to discuss their needs and developing concerns with the Chamber team.
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