Submitted by North Peace MLA Pat Pimm
The March 2010 Budget is a good â€œsteady as you goâ€ budget. It is a budget that uses numbers that are slightly more modest than the leading economic forecasters are predicting. Many of the leading forecasters have said our budget will lead Canada through the recovery period and agree that we can meet our balanced budget targets of 2013/2014.
This budget again maintains core services in health care and education, as well as services for families. Our revenues have stabilized, but we are again about $3 billion less than two years ago due to reduced resource revenues and global economic decline. A very positive note is that we are now expanding even further into the Pacific Gateway Asian market, which is currently accounting for about 30 percent of our exports. This is an important diversification strategy for a province that would normally rely nearly 100 percent on trade with our southern partner.
Some of the features that are going to be big for rural British Columbia is a $100 million injection into clean energy and climate action initiatives. The home owners grant is being increased by an additional $200 for rural and northern British Columbians to help offset some of the costs related to the carbon tax. The tax threshold has been raised to $11,000 which will automatically increase your tax return by about $70.00 and low income earners will receive $230.00 that will be combined with your GST cheque to help offset HST costs.
School Boards will be happy to know that their facilities grants have been restored to $110 million and Gaming Grants have been partially restored and reworked to accommodate those community groups that are most in need.
This government has continued to reduce personal taxes and corporate taxes, thus putting more money in your bank account. Since 2001, there have been over 120 tax cuts. We have gone from being 35% higher in taxes than Alberta in 2001 to now being lower than Alberta on the personal side and we will be equal to them in the small business sector by next year. An $80,000 per year wage earner now has nearly $6000 more in his/her pocket than compared to 2001.
HST will be initiated on July 1, 2010 and all leading economists confirm that this is the single best thing that can happen for business and economic development. It will replace an antiquated PST and all of the problems that surrounded that tax. A good example that I like to use is for a business that purchases a $100,000 piece of equipment. Today, that business would pay $5000 GST and $7000 PST – that business would then recover the $5000 through the input tax credit system but the $7000 is gone. Under the HST, that business will be able to recover the full $12,000 through the input tax credit putting an additional $7000 directly back to the business and leveling the playing field between BC and Alberta competitors.