Who’s happy (and who’s not) about the B.C. budget

Balanced reaction to B.C.’s balanced 2015 budget

Thumbs up
B.C.’s restaurant industry appeared generally happy the budget will reduce both debt-servicing costs and pressure to raise personal and business taxes, meaning British Columbians will have more disposable income to spend in restaurants. The Cement Association of Canada welcomed $22 million from the government over a three-year period to offset B.C.’s carbon tax, applied to domestic cement but not cement imported from the U.S. and Asia. The Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. is hoping the renewal of tax credits on exploration until the end of 2015, along with a $6.3-million increase in the mines ministry’s budget, will be a strong catalyst to increase public and investor confidence. The Business Council of British Columbia, meanwhile, applauded the government’s commitment to keep the operating budget balanced and to manage the overall provincial debt, preserving B.C.’s Triple A credit rating. The BC Chamber of Commerce congratulated the government for its third consecutive balanced budget and targeted initiatives to support economic growth. And finally, animal lovers were happy about $5 million set aside to support the BC SPCA’s facilities development and services plan.

Thumbs down
The BC Federation of Labour was disappointed that the personal tax rate for incomes above $150,000 will be eliminated while the minimum wage stays the same. The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators was also disappointed that provincial operating grants for colleges, universities and institutes will decline between 2015 and 2016, and the B.C. School Trustees Association is very upset, predicting school trustees will have a much more difficult time balancing their budgets this year. The BC Nurses’ Union is concerned about the future for seniors and others as the health care budget has increased just 2.9 percent when the Conference Board of Canada estimates it should increase 4.8 percent to maintain current service levels.  

Digging for compliments
Offsetting the tailings spill at its Mount Polley operation, Imperial Metals finally has some good news: the first production of copper concentrate at its Red Chris mine. The Vancouver-based exploration, mine development and operating company recently started commissioning activities at the Red Chris mine, located in northern B.C. As well as the Mount Polley copper and gold mine, it also operates the Sterling gold mine in Nevada and has a 50 per cent interest in the Huckleberry copper mine and Ruddock Creek lead/zinc property, both in B.C.