BOMA BC Advocacy Update 4: 2023 Annual Budget Announcements - Province of BC & Vancouver
On February 28th, 2023, two important budgets were tabled and passed in British Columbia: The City of Vancouver passed its 2023-2024 Operating Budget and Finance Minister Katrine Conroy unveiled British Columbia’s 2023-2024 Provincial Budget.
While the Provincial Budget was heavily focused on alleviating affordability and inflation pressures, the City of Vancouver’s featured large tax hikes.
BOMA BC met with Vancouver’s City Council and Staff in the lead up to the City of Vancouver’s budget and communicated BOMA BC's desire for a competitive business tax environment and the impact of tax hikes on business. BOMA BC also participated in Provincial Budget consultations and advocated for solutions to our industry’s labour shortage, amongst other issues.
City of Vancouver:
Vancouver’s municipal budget included an unfortunate 10.7% tax increase. Mayor and Council have noted that tax hikes were necessary to address inflation and bring funding levels back to normal for public safety (accommodating the Mayor’s campaign commitment to add 100 police officers), road upkeep, sanitation levels, and critical infrastructure maintenance that the City says were neglected in previous years and magnified during the Pandemic.
BOMA BC Advocacy
BOMA BC met with Council and staff last week and noted:
- There must be a plan to prevent future tax hikes of this magnitude.
- This will have an outsized impact on businesses as our industry already faces a disproportionate property tax ratio.
- There needs to be commensurate services for such a large tax increase.
Province of British Columbia:
This year’s Budget largely focused on affordability, healthcare, and housing. The suite of measures to ease costs for British Columbians comes at a hefty price tag. After a $6 billion budgetary surplus in last year’s budget, the Provincial government is now projecting a $4.2 billion deficit for 2023-2024 with $6.4 billion in new spending over three years.
Future Ready Plan:
This year’s budget was about affordability and providing support for British Columbians to combat inflation and high housing costs. This resulted in a lack of targeted measures to support the business community, drawing criticism from several local business organizations.
The Budget did, however, address the Province’s labour shortage through funding for a Future Ready Plan. BOMA BC has long advocated to the Province for programs that alleviate our industry’s acute labour shortage, and we are pleased to see dedicated funding for this issue. We will engage with the Province to ensure the Commercial Real Estate Industry is reflected in this program’s development.
Here are key program highlights:
- Improving affordability and access for post-secondary education and skills training.
- New training seats
- Grants for short-term training programs
- Funding for small and medium-sized businesses in implementing solutions to labour market challenges.
The provincial budget also noted a $15-per-tonne increase to the carbon tax, effective August 1st, 2023, increasing the price of gas in British Columbia.
The Province also unveiled a new carbon pricing system for industrial heavy emitters to harmonize with the federally mandated system. Rather than paying the tax upfront, heavy emitters will pay a price based on meeting or exceeding specific benchmarks.
Here are the top overall Provincial Budget’s highlights:
- Housing: A renter’s benefit; additional funding to reduce homelessness; and $4.3 billion over three years on affordable and attainable housing development – the largest three-year housing investment in Provincial history.
- Healthcare: Significant funding for BC Cancer Care; healthcare labour shortages; primary care; and a $1 billion investment in services for mental health and addiction challenges.
- Public Safety: 256 new RCMP Officers; and additional funding to address repeat offenders.
If you have any questions, please contact our Government Relations Director, Zach Segal, at email@example.com.