B.C. adds $660M in tax incentives to recovery plan

By Greg Fry	
		Speculation growing		Prince George MLAs react to possible election call				Sep 16 2020 3:12 PM

By Greg Fry Speculation growing Prince George MLAs react to possible election call Sep 16 2020 3:12 PM

While the plan includes $1.5 billion in new spending, the government is also introducing $660 million in new tax measures and $500 million for a new strategic investment fund. He did little to dispel the talk of an election on Thursday, saying only that he had not yet made a decision. This money was earmarked for recovery spending in the spring.

About $100 million in infrastructure grants will be available for projects that are ready to begin and $300 million in grants for small and medium businesses to help protect more than 200,000 jobs in hard-hit industries.

A separate $50 million is being allocated to a new tourism taskforce charged with boosting an industry hit harder than most by travel restrictions.

The tourism industry had been seeking $680 million in support. "It shows federal and provincial governments are listening to us".

Asked whether the plan's roll-out would be delayed by an election, Horgan said implementation is now in the hands of the public service.

British Columbia entered the pandemic as an economic leader in Canada, making it among the best-positioned provinces to support a strong recovery.

Business groups also sounded alarm that money will not come fast enough.

Helping B.C. businesses adapt. "Business is still nowhere near as usual". "While we are now starting to see hopeful signs of recovery, we know many people are still struggling and there is a lot of work left to do", said James.

Missing from the plan, he added, is any strategy to "to unshackle the balance sheets of the private sector and create investment certainty and regulatory efficiency going forward".

"This recovery plan is just the start, the first step on a long road of recovery that we will take together", Horgan said.

The recovery plan includes hiring 7,000 more health-care workers, as well as skills training in fields such as child care.

This comes after last week's announcement of $1.6-billion to support health response and recovery measures.

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The Increased Employment Incentive, which is a tax credit that rewards employers who expand eligible payroll from the third to the fourth quarter of 2020, will receive $190-million in funding.

Implementing a 15 percent refundable tax credit based on eligible new payroll for businesses.

There has also been an additional $761-million in other COVID-related spending.

Another $35 million is earmarked for the Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy, $31 million for an electric vehicle incentive program and $30 million to the commercial vehicle innovation challenge.

Premier John Horgan and Carole James, Minister of Finance, have released Stronger BC for Everyone: BC's Economic Recovery Plan.

The chamber also recommended reforming municipal property taxes, expanding provincial climate benefits to allow small businesses to adopt lower-carbon technologies and removing PST on machinery and equipment to encourage business investment.

The provincial government shared details of its Economic Recovery Plan, Stronger BC.

The City of Vancouver, in a statement, said it welcomed the funding but wanted to see more details from B.C.

"The steps we are taking now will improve health care, get people back to work, support B.C. businesses, and strengthen our neighbourhoods and communities".

Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson accused Horgan of using the plan as campaign material for an "unnecessary" election.

"As British Columbians, we've been through a lot recently". "These people's backs are up against the wall".

You can read the plan here. In addition to broad consultation and recommendations, the Stronger BC Plan took into consideration the BC Chamber of Commerce Economic Recovery Submission, which urged big thinking needed to keep BC competitive, innovative, and inclusive.

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