A Budget to Weather the Storm

    Deficits necessary for tough times say B.C.'s Certified Management
    Accountants of the 2009 B.C. budget

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - The B.C. Government will run a $495M deficit
this year, as it grapples with the current economic challenges, while keeping
an eye to the future.
    "B.C. is well positioned to weather this economic storm with a strong
balance sheet, a AAA credit rating and a practical budget," says Mia Maki,
CMA, FCMA - Chair of the Certified Management Accountants Society of British
Columbia (CMA British Columbia). "In tough times savvy leaders will use a
downturn in the economy to build a stronger team and make necessary
investments for the future. Opportunities exist for those who have their
financial house in order."
    "There is a good balance between short-term practicality and long-term
focus on strategy," continued Maki. "The longer term focus is seen in
increased spending on education, which is critical to B.C.'s long-term
success. There is risk in the forecasted revenues, particularly the personal
tax estimates, but generally the budget reflects a cautious approach and good
financial management on the Government's part."
    "The Government of British Columbia's approach to running the province as
a business is evident," says Colin Bennett, CMA, FCMA, President and CEO of
CMA British Columbia. "We commend the Premier, Gordon Campbell, in his 14%
reduction to the Premier's Office budget. This is the kind of leadership that
we need to see when times are tough. The amount may be nominal, but the
message is clear - we all need to suffer a little to get through this.
Reduction of the operations debt by $9.3 billion since 03/04, supported by a
debt to GDP ratio reduction to 14% further shows that this is the best
government to lead us through these challenging economic times. The
Government's spending initiatives and commitment to a balanced budget, in two
years time, should restore consumer confidence and maintain the province's
attractiveness for business and investment."

    B.C.'s Certified Management Accountants supports the government's
strategic management approach to its budget and the decision to run deficits
in the short term in order to stimulate the province's economy.

    Certified Management Accountants Society of British Columbia awards the
Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation to qualified candidates in
British Columbia. With more than 40,000 certified members and 10,000
candidates and students around the world, CMA is the only organization in
North America that grants a strategic management accounting(TM) professional
designation. It is responsible for standards-setting, accreditation and the
continuing professional development of CMAs. CMAs provide an integrating
perspective to business decision-making, applying a unique blend of expertise
in accounting, management and strategy to identify new market opportunities,
ensure corporate accountability, and help organizations maintain a long-term
competitive advantage. For more information visit,www.cmabc.com.

For further information:

For further information: Vinetta Peek, CMA (Hon.), Vice President
Marketing & Communications, T: (604) 687-5891 ext. 7003 or 1-800-663-9646

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