February 24, 2019

Earlier this week the provincial government released its Budget 2019 with a theme of making life more affordable for British Columbians.

Highlights include a new benefit for people with children, investments in both housing and clean energy, climate initiatives, and programs to support BC’s liquified natural gas sector.

Unfortunately, the Budget does little to make life more affordable for BC’s small businesses, who are still struggling with the $5 billion in cumulative tax and cost increases announced in last year’s budget.

In an op-ed published prior to the budget, we sought to remind government that in the past year BC’s small businesses have been asked to absorb a $2 billion Employer Health Tax, increasing carbon tax, rising minimum wage, climbing corporate tax rates, and growing labour challenges.

Although one can certainly applaud the goals of this balanced budget, BC’s small and medium-sized businesses know that this budget was built and balanced on their backs, and on the new and increased taxes announced last year.

Additional highlights:

  • A 20 per cent cut to the small business corporate income tax rate (from 2.5 per cent to 2 per cent)
  • Employer Health Tax will bring in $1.9 billion in Fiscal 19/20, all while businesses are still paying MSP for another year
  • Aside from a slight increase in expected profit for the LBD – $1.12 billion next year – the budget contains no specific announcements for BC’s liquor industry.

Overall, we had hoped that the Budget would have announced better measures to support BC’s small businesses. At the end of the day, this budget lacks the smart policies and strategic investments BC’s small and medium-sized businesses need to continue to grow, compete, and attract investment.

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