The Surrey Board of Trade is calling for tax reform to help British Columbians recover from “economic shock” caused by the pandemic and is aiming this at the provincial government’s throne speech to be delivered on Monday, April 12.
“B.C. will have to walk a fiscal tightrope between the need to reduce debt and deficits and supporting economic growth,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the board. “The fastest and least painful path to recovery is by encouraging business investment and job creation. Re-conceiving our provincial tax system is necessary to rebuild our economy, which is critical to BC’s ability to recover from COVID-19’s impact.”
Huberman argues that the province must “mobilize” private capital to rebuild B.C.’s economy and not just rely on taxation. The speculation and vacancy tax, among others, makes for more hardship for businesses that are already struggling, she argues.
“On top of these B.C. taxes, businesses also are also going to face increased costs in their upcoming local government property tax bill. How much more can businesses afford?”
Huberman says the government should implement a split assessment taxation system “that would create a new commercial sub-class to alleviate pressure on businesses that operate in a building with the airspace above them zoned as residential.”
A public consultation process is needed to solicit more ideas related to tax reform, she maintains.