Certified General Accountants: B.C. Budget Update Offers Solid Plan for Growth

    VICTORIA, BC, Sept. 1 /CNW/ - Finance Minister Colin Hansen produced a
budget update that recognizes the impact of the global economic crisis on
British Columbia and lays out a solid plan for economic recovery, says British
Columbia's Certified General Accountants.
    "Today's budget update shows that there is cause for optimism and that
B.C. remains best positioned in Canada as we emerge from the current economic
crisis," says Stephen Spector, FCGA, CGA-BC President.
    The Minister had to balance future costs from increasing debt with the
current need to maintain a positive business climate while delivering vital
services. Spector said that while the Association is not a supporter of
deficits or rising debt, this recession is a once in a generation occurrence.
The dramatic drop in revenues means that the province is facing deficits of
approximately $5.6 billion over the next four years, but should return to a
surplus within five years. Further, B.C.'s debt-to-GDP ratio remains at a
sustainable level and will resume its downward trend once the province's
economy recovers.
    The Association applauded the Minister for actions that will make the
province an even better place to do business. "We are pleased to see that
effective January 1, 2010, the government has increased the small business
exemption from $400,000 to $500,000. CGA had argued for this in the last
budget and it will inject up to $20 million back into small- and medium-sized
businesses," says Spector. "In addition the government announced its intention
to eliminate the small business income tax by 2012 which will enhance our
competitive position. Once again, this makes the province an economic leader
in Canada," says Spector.
    "The Association also supports the government's decision to introduce the
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). The HST is a more efficient form of taxation and
will build a stronger and more productive economy," says Spector. Moving to
the HST reduces B.C.'s marginal effective tax rate on new business investment
from 26.4% to 15.7% again improving our competitive advantage.
    The government has acknowledged the impact of the HST on consumers and
will provide relief through the B.C. HST Low Income tax credit, an increase of
the B.C. basic personal exemption to $11,000 and a rebate for residential
energy costs. They have also recognized the impact of the HST on residential
home construction by ensuring that the provincial tax paid on new homes of up
to $400,000 will be no more than it is now. Buyers of new homes costing more
than $400,000 will receive a flat rebate of $20,000.

    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.

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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