BC budget fails to provide cost relief to small businesses
Vancouver, February 28, 2023 – As BC small businesses face mounting cost pressures and slower economic activity, the BC budget was a missed opportunity for the government to recognize the state of small businesses and provide meaningful cost relief and affordability measures.
"BC small businesses are struggling to cope with inflation, lower consumer spending, higher interest rates, and ongoing labor shortages,” said Jairo Yunis, CFIB economist for Western Canada. “Sadly, despite the severity of the situation, the government decided to leave small businesses out of its spending priorities.”
According to a recent CFIB survey, BC small business owners would like to see the provincial government:
- Address prices and the cost of doing business (94% of small businesses)
- Reduce the overall tax burden (91%)
- Ensure labour policies are reasonable for employers (90%)
- Address healthcare challenges (87%)
- Help employers deal with labour shortages (74%)
In the lead-up to the budget, CFIB met with the BC government and offered some potential areas of cost relief including increasing the Employer Health Tax payroll exemption threshold, raising the small business tax rate income threshold, shifting the cost burden of paid sick days, rebating some of WorkSafeBC’s employer-paid $3.4 billion surplus, and reducing the school property tax. Instead, amongst weakened economic conditions and lower GDP growth, the government raised costs for small businesses by increasing the carbon tax and indexing school property tax rates to inflation.
Yunis added, “Going from a $5.7 billion surplus to a $4.2 billion deficit without providing any affordability measures to BC small businesses is disappointing. This budget was a missed opportunity to lay down a clear economic plan that focused on the growth and survival of small businesses. We continue to call on the government to address the rising cost of doing business and provide meaningful relief to BC small businesses. The future of our economy depends on it”, concluded Yunis.
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Economist for Western Canada, CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members, including 9,000 in BC, across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca