Certified General Accountants: Hansen's Budget Should Help Weather Economic Crisis

    VICTORIA, BC, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - Finance Minister Colin Hansen produced a
budget that should help the province weather the worst of the global economic
crisis, says the province's Certified General Accountants.
    "Capital spending on infrastructure projects worth some $14 billion will
give our economy a much needed shot in the arm and provide benefits to the
province that will last for many years," said Stephen Spector, FCGA, President
of the Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia.
    Spector said that the Association recognizes that these are difficult
times and the government has been compelled to take drastic action by
incurring a $495-million deficit in 2009-10 and a $245-million deficit in
2010-11. The government is required to return to a balanced budget when this
storm has passed. And under new legislation, as of 2011-12, any increases in
cash must be used to pay down the operating debt. "It's a temporary retreat,
not a defeat. It is reassuring to know that the province will return to a
balanced budget and fiscal restraint once we have emerged from the recession,"
he said.
    Spector cautioned that these are early days and predictions for an
economic recovery are premised on a rebound elsewhere in the world. "We
believe that the Minister is optimistic in his predictions of economic growth
and increased revenues in 2010 and we caution that these are volatile times,"
said Spector. "We need to maintain stability for future generations."
    The government has also held the line in building a positive tax
environment that will continue to make the province a good place to invest and
live. A number of corporate tax reductions have been put in place since 2001
which gives B.C. one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the G7. "We believe
that the government could have followed the lead of the federal government in
increasing the small business exemption from $400,000 to $500,000," said
Spector. "This could have put as much as $7,500 back into the pockets of many
small businesses."
    The Association believes that the government has softened the effect of
the current financial crisis by establishing a solid financial plan early in
their mandate. "Successive finance ministers carefully constructed a positive
tax environment and economic strategy that is paying dividends now that we are
in the midst of an economic downturn," said Spector.

    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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