CAs say Budget 2008 takes a balanced approach

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - The Chartered Accountants of B.C. are pleased
to see the B.C. Budget has balanced environmental and social goals with
economic competitiveness.
    "We understand that the environment and climate change are important
priorities of this government, and they have consistently played a leadership
role on this file. We are pleased that they are planning to meet their goals
in a revenue neutral way that does not increase the overall tax burden in the
province," said Richard Rees, CEO, Chartered Accountants of B.C. "We support
the government's intent to legislate this revenue-neutrality."
    It is crucial that government keep its eye on the ball with respect to
the economy. Phasing this tax in over time will allow businesses and
individuals an opportunity to adjust personal behavior or take advantage of
tax incentives. In addition, reducing personal, small business, and corporate
tax rates to partially offset the carbon tax will directly put money back in
people's pockets, and help business remain competitive.
    However, the CAs caution that businesses with significant energy use will
face increased costs that may not be offset by tax reductions, which could
negatively impact their competitiveness.
    "We understand and support the need to take action on climate change.
However, as these policies move forward, and other regulatory regimes such as
cap and trade are introduced, we would like to see an integrated approach
across Canada," said Rees.
    The CAs are disappointed that the government has not sought to harmonize
the provincial sales tax with the federal goods and services tax. Sales tax
harmonization would improve the province's competitive position by reducing
the cost of capital investment and the regulatory burden on business.
    The CAs are pleased to see the government is serious about making the
province an international financial centre by phasing out the capital tax on
financial institutions. The capital tax was a drag on the financial services
sector and was a deterrent to job creation and investment.
    With increasing risks to B.C.'s economy, the CAs of B.C. also support the
budget's prudent use of forecast allowances and contingencies over the next
three years.

    The Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia is the
training, governing and regulatory body of B.C.'s 9,300 members and just over
1,500 CA students. The Institute carries out its primary mission to protect
the public by enforcing the most demanding admission criteria and the highest
professional and ethical standards. Thanks to the quality and rigour of their
education and training, CAs are recognized internationally for bringing
superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight and
leadership to organizations.

For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries, contact: Kerri Brkich,
Manager, Public Affairs, CAs of B.C., Tel: (604) 488-2625, E-mail:

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