B.C.’s budget-making grade improved to a “B+” this year from a “B” last year in the Vancouver Board of Trade’s annual budget report card.
“We were pleasantly surprised that the government resisted the temptation to do a whole lot of pre-election spending,” said Iain Black, president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade.
“This was a very bread-and-butter budget for an election year that reflected some very basic priorities that were in line with the views of our members.”
Black didn’t identify any large concerns with the government’s plan to sell $625 million worth of government properties and assets to balance the budget.
He said the approach would be problematic if it were ongoing, rather than short-term.
“You can’t continue to sell assets, or sooner or later you’re going to sell your actual capacity to function,” he said.
“But selling 2% of the overall asset base that’s not being used when your starting point is about $7 billion [of assets], I’m not overly concerned about that as a strategy in the short term.”
Black said Board of Trade isn’t happy about the budget’s 1% increase to corporate taxes, but emphasized that the organization’s top priority was a balanced budget.
“We were not, as an organization, under the illusion that that was going to happen without some kind of a revenue measure,” he said.
But he added: “Are we pleased about the 1% corporate tax increase? No. We’re watching that very carefully to make sure it’s not part of a trend.”