Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

With B.C.’s operating deficit heading past the $13 billion mark due to COVID-19, more than four out of five B.C. residents are concerned that tax increases and service cuts are coming, according to a new survey from the Business Council of B.C.

The business group commissioned a public opinion survey from Ipsos Public Affairs to test support for its “Stronger Tomorrow, Starting Today” recovery plan, to support businesses hit hardest by the pandemic and public health measures to contain it. The plan includes placing a time limit on municipal project approvals and restructuring B.C.’s sales tax to give the private sector a better chance to invest and recover.

The survey was conducted shortly after Premier John Horgan won a majority mandate in the Oct. 24 election. It found 81 per cent agreement that the B.C. government should do more to support businesses, and 79 per cent are concerned that the NDP’s election promises are going to lead to higher taxes or debt.

Business council CEO Greg D’Avignon said a surprising result of the survey is the high level of concern among younger people as well as older people who have lived through Canada’s struggles with debt and deficits before.

“They’re seeing this money fly around all over the place,” D’Avignon said in an interview with Black Press Media Dec. 1. “Everyone has a story about getting money they didn’t think they deserve. They know it’s coming from somewhere, and they know they’re going to have to pay it back at some point.”

Horgan’s campaign promise of $1,000 payments to most B.C. households has no requirement to show lost income. It comes on top of federal relief spending that has been shown to have greatly exceeded income losses across Canada, with more deficit spending promised this week by federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

VIDEO: Federal deficit nears $400B, more spending to come

RELATED: B.C. legislature sits Dec. 7 for COVID-19 payments

A recent analysis by CIBC found Canadians are saving money at unprecedented rates, due to what economists describe as poorly targeted and excessive federal relief payments that many people have banked because they didn’t need the money.

“COVID-19 has triggered the largest cash accumulation in recorded history,” the bank’s economists found.

And a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed household incomes in Canada rose 11 per cent in the second quarter of the fiscal year, despite a sharp contraction in the economy. The OECD calculated that Canadian labour income fell by more than $100 billion in the second quarter, but government transfers grew by $225 billion in the same period, leaving Canada with the largest deficit increase of any developed country.

“With a new government in place and prospects of vaccines being available in 2021, now is the time to be thinking about how to get B.C. businesses back on their feet, how to recoup the 100,000 full-time jobs lost in the last year, and how to reinvigorate the private sector, which will drive the necessary government revenues to provide essential supports and address mounting public debt,” BCBC president Greg D’Avignon said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Inspector Eric Rochette is the new officer in charge of the Port Alberni RCMP. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP sees drop in property crime in late 2020

Clamp-down on prolific offenders seen as one reason

Port Alberni’s Caden Tremblay played with the North Island Major Bantam Silvertips during the 2019-2020 season. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
BCHL: Port Alberni’s Caden Tremblay suits up for hometown Bulldogs

North Island Silvertips’ captain hopes to play for hometown crowd

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Barb Kalugin, chair of the Community For Kids Port Alberni Chapter, is presented with a cheque for $832 for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation from Anita Sutherland, Director of Operations and Opportunities with McLean Mill National Historic Site. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
McLean Mill Christmas event raises more than $800 for BC Children’s Hospital

Festival of Trees fundraiser went virtual due to COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Tahsis mayor Martin Davis stands with an old-growth tree in McKelvie Creek Valley. The village of Tahsis signed a Letter of Understanding with forestry company Western Forest Products to establish McKelvie watershed as a protected area. Photo courtesy, TJ Watt.
Landmark deal expected to protect Tahsis watershed from logging

Tahsis and WFP agree on letter of understanding to preserve McKelvie Creek Valley within TFL 19

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
2 years after his riderless horse was found, police believe Merritt cowboy was killed

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seats in the waiting area of domestic departures lounge of Calgary International Airport are seen with caution tape on them on June 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
3-in-4 Canadians in favour of banning interprovincial travel: Poll

According to Research Co., 80 per cent of Canadians would like to see restrictions imposed

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

Most Read