B.C.'s Certified General Accountants Offer Mixed Reaction to a "Going Green" Provincial Budget

    VICTORIA, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - B.C.'s Certified General Accountants gave
today's "Going Green" provincial budget a mixed review. "We would have liked
more carrots and fewer sticks," says Pat Keller, President of CGA-BC.
    "The government has taken some good measures to tackle the environment
and reduce business taxes to some of the lowest in Canada. However, we are
concerned with the introduction of a carbon tax and a lack of action on the
expanding provincial debt," says Keller.
    This budget puts an emphasis on the environment, but the Association has
concerns regarding the introduction of a carbon tax or any new tax. "We prefer
a 'carrot' rather than a 'stick' approach; give people incentives for going
green rather than taxing them."
    The Finance Minister says that this is a legacy budget. Certified General
Accountants believe that the two most important legacies are a healthy
environment and a debt-free future. "It's not enough to leave a legacy to our
kids of a province worth living in," says Keller. "We want to leave a province
where they can afford to live."
    Ultimately, CGA believes that the key to a strong economy and a healthy
environment is to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce the accumulated
provincial debt. The debt continues to grow and will increase by $7.5 billion
over the next three years and will hit $42.47 billion by 2010/11. It now costs
some $2.2 billion a year to pay the interest on that debt.
    "The debt acts as a millstone around our necks and it's getting heavier."
    We spend $2.2 billion a year annually servicing the debt. That is more
than twice the amount the government is spending over the next four years on
its Climate Action Plan. "We need the government to be as committed to
implementing a debt management plan as it was to balancing the budget, and is
now in helping the environment," says Keller.

    As the province's largest professional accounting association, CGA-BC
represents more than 13,000 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.

For further information:

For further information: Edward Downing, Director of Communications,
(778) 838-6334

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Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia

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