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Fiscal & Tax Policy

As a small, open trading region, BC depends on investment and trade to support ongoing economic development and public services. A competitive tax regime and balanced government finances are key advantages in attracting investments to BC. The Council plays an important role in analyzing BC’s fiscal policies relative to other jurisdictions and advocating for reforms that boost our competitiveness.

Where Does the Money Come From? The B.C. Government’s Top Revenue Sources

Where exactly does the province get the vast sums required to pay for the services and programs it provides or supports?

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An Update on Government Finances

With the national economy having reached potential, now is not a propitious time for governments to be running fiscal deficits. Yet, collectively, they are doing just that.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: New age of activist governments driving up cost of doing business (Business in Vancouver)

Welcome to a new era of activist government.

In the last two years, both the federal and provincial governments have outlined more ambitious policy agendas. Each has ramped up spending on social services and income support programs, laying the foundations for a larger public sector. The drumbeat of regulatory change has become deafening as governments initiate multiple policy reviews and move to reshape environmental assessment and permitting rules, energy regulations and standards, the legal frameworks governing employment and labour relations, minimum wages, housing market policies, apprenticeships and much else besides.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Budget’s higher business costs dim B.C. investment prospects

The first full budget unveiled by the BC NDP government offers a mix of higher spending, tax hikes on business and significant commitments to expand child care and address concerns over housing affordability and real estate speculation.

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BC Budget 2018 - Higher Business Taxes Plus Additional Spending Measures

Many B.C. businesses will be scrambling to adjust to significantly higher payroll costs.

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BCBC Offers Mixed Reviews on Budget 2018

Today’s budget presented by Finance Minister Carole James introduces a new payroll tax, takes significant steps towards addressing housing affordability, and commits to a significant expansion of child care in the province. However, the Business Council believes there is more work to do to strengthen the foundations of B.C.’s prosperity.

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Finlayson & Peacock: Avoiding a deficit should be a BC NDP coalition budget priority (Business in Vancouver)

Some cautionary advice for Minister Carole James heading into the NDP Government's first full budget.

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SUBMISSION: MSP Task Force

The Business Council's submission to the MSP Task Force which has been asked to advise on how to make up the forgone revenue from the elimination of Medical Services Plan premiums.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op Ed: U.S. tax reforms set to remake competitive landscape for Canada (Business in Vancouver)

As finance ministers across Canada start putting the finishing touches on their 2018 budgets, they are sure to be casting a nervous glance to the south. In late December, the U.S. Congress approved – and President Donald Trump signed – a package of tax reforms and rate reductions that amounts to the biggest overhaul of America’s tax system in four decades. The changes are numerous and complex. For policy-makers and business leaders in Canada, the new reality of U.S. taxation heralds a significant shift in the competitive landscape.

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Three economic predictions for 2018

What does 2018 have in store on the economic front? We offer these three predictions.

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BCBC in 2017: Advancing Ideas and Actions....

In the final days of 2017, we’ve taken a moment to review the 119 publications, submissions to government, opinion editorials and blogs produced by the team at the Business Council of British Columbia. In addition to highlighting our major works, we’ve put together a compilation which revisits the most popular pieces and provides an overview of the range of issues that have garnered attention this year. 

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: How government can help build bigger businesses in B.C. (Business in Vancouver)

To build a more prosperous economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow. The business world is characterized by a high degree of “churn,” with many new entrants together with lots of exits and diverse patterns of expansion and contraction among the pool of surviving companies. Many new firms don’t have a long shelf life. About half close their doors within five years. Of those that hit the five-year mark, most never reach the 50-employee level.

But those that do grow swiftly tend to make disproportionate contributions to our economy. This is partly because as businesses expand, they become more productive – and therefore, on average, pay higher wages. In addition, as firms grow, they are more likely to export and to take advantage of the economies of scale that come from doing business beyond local markets.

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From Good to Great: The Benefits of Scaling Up BC Business

To build a more prosperous and innovative economy, new businesses have to be created and some existing firms must grow.

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BCBC STATEMENT on the Government of Canada's Fall Economic Update
Business Council of BC Urges Stronger Action to Tame the Federal Deficit and Improve Canada’s Competitiveness

The Business Council of British Columbia offered the following comments on today’s Economic and Fiscal Update presented in the House of Commons by Finance Minister William Morneau.

“We welcome news that the federal government’s budget deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, mainly thanks to stronger economic growth so far in 2017,” stated Greg D’Avignon, the Business Council’s President and CEO.  “Having said that, with the Canadian economy operating close to capacity, we believe the government should be aiming to achieve a balanced operating budget sooner than they are currently projecting.”

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Growing Grey: Five Key Takeaways from the 2016 Census of Population

The 2016 Census revealed three major population trends in Canada: we are having fewer babies, more and more baby boomers are transitioning into retirement, and everyone is living longer.

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BC Budget Update Signals Modest Tax Changes and Additional Spending Measures

After more than 16 years in opposition, the NDP government introduced its first budget earlier this week. More accurately, Finance Minister Carole James unveiled a Budget Update, with the more comprehensive budget and fleshed out fiscal plan to come next February.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Economic policy advice for B.C.’s new ‘GreeNDP’ government (Business in Vancouver)

As a new B.C. provincial government gets ready to assume office, there is an opportunity for a fresh agenda and new perspectives. The BC NDP government will inherit an economy that has been outpacing the rest of the country in the growth of overall output, employment and consumer spending. However, B.C. also faces several structural challenges that in some ways belie the happy picture of robust economic growth. These challenges include excessive reliance on a frothy housing market and outsized real estate sector; alarming levels of household debt; tepid productivity growth; sluggish business investment; waning competitiveness in some key segments of the province’s export economy; and a housing affordability crisis that is affecting many parts of the Lower Mainland.

In these circumstances, the new government will need to proceed carefully in defining and implementing its policy agenda.

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BC Economic Momentum Carries On

The BC economy remains healthy, with nearly all sectors contributing to the ongoing expansion. The momentum from last year is carrying forward more so than previously anticipated, prompting us to adjust our 2017 forecast upwards.

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Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Income tax rates: Canada’s growing competitive disadvantage (Business in Vancouver)

Among all advanced economies, Canada imposes one of the heaviest income tax burdens on highly skilled people

The federal budget presented last month offered a timely reminder of something that many Canadians might not realize: a huge slice of Ottawa’s revenue comes from a single source, the personal income tax (PIT). Federal PIT revenue is projected to reach $152 billion in 2017-18, which is half of all of the money hoovered up by the national government. PIT is also the No. 1 revenue source for the provinces, although it makes up a significantly smaller portion of their tax base than of Ottawa’s.

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Finlayson Op-Ed: Canada's over-hyped clean-tech revolution (Troy Media)

Across Canada, politicians have become bedazzled by the potential of the “clean tech” sector to drive economic growth.  The 2017 federal budget earmarks more than $2.2 billion in new spending to boost the industry, with a particular focus on accelerating the commercialization of products and technologies that promise to lessen the environmental impact of energy and water use, transportation, and other industrial activities. 

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