Status Quo Budget Sets Stage for Budget 2.0, Certified General Accountants Say

VICTORIA, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - Today's status quo budget wasn't unexpected says Bruce Hurst, FCGA, the Chair of the Certified General Accountants Association of B.C. "But we are looking to the next budget, which has to chart the province on the next phase of the province's economic growth."

Hurst says: "The B.C. economy is on the road to recovery, and the government can take credit for navigating through the recession. Our advice to the next government is to provide a bold fiscal vision for the province and act on new opportunities as the world emerges from the recession."

CGAs recommend that the next government continue to make B.C. the lowest tax jurisdiction in Canada. "The province has the lowest provincial income taxes for individuals earning up to $119,000 a year. We would urge the government to bring rates down for people in that highest bracket since that helps in attracting entrepreneurs and knowledge-workers," says Hurst.

We advise the government to continue with the good work in building a positive investment climate such as reducing the small business tax to zero in 2012. "Targeted tax cuts like this are the most effective and efficient way to make the province a magnet for investment and growth. And research shows that targeted income tax cuts are more effective than reductions to consumption taxes like sales taxes," says Hurst.

We also urge the new government to build on the strategies that will boost investment and stimulate B.C.'s economy. This includes a return to balanced budgets, good debt management and expanding the knowledge economy as the global economic recovery takes hold. The current numbers, which the Association believes are quite conservative, show that the province is heading towards a balanced budget, says Hurst. This year's deficit is forecast at $1.265 billion for 2010/11 which is 25 per cent lower than the $1.715 forecast in last year's budget. The government also forecasts deficits of $925 million in 2011/12 and $440 million for 2012/13. It expects to return a balanced budget in 2013/14.

CGA-BC continues to caution that total debt continues to creep up. The province now has a total debt of $47.281 billion for 2010/11 and it will climb to $60.355 billion by 2013/14. Despite this, the debt-to-GDP ratio of taxpayer supported debt, the ability of the province to manage its debt, continues to trend down.

However, the new government must also focus on building a knowledge-based economy. "We are a province of highly educated, skilled, and productive thinkers and doers," says Hurst. "We need to continue to develop knowledge-based services to leverage these skills and to invest in education in this area, to provide the incentives for development of knowledge-based services and industries across B.C."

As the province's largest professional accounting association, CGA-BC represents more than 14,000 CGAs and students. Members work in industry, commerce, government and in public practice. The Association promotes the excellence of its members and advances the accounting profession through education, certification and the protection of the public interest.

SOURCE Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia

For further information:

Edward Downing, Director of Communications
Telephone: (604) 730-6208 or (778) 838-6334
E-mail: edowning@cga-bc.org

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Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia

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