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THE#BCBIZDAILY
Plus, business comments on the B.C. budget and Kinder Morgan rests its case

Poll position
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s approval rating may have dropped to 33 per cent in a new Angus Reid poll but it’s better than B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s 31 per cent rating. Just two premiers had lower approval ratings: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at 27 per cent and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger at a dismal 19 per cent. The premier with the highest approval rating is Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall: 62 per cent.

Christy Clark’s approval rating has hovered between 30 per cent and 34 per cent since September 2014. The Angus Reid Institute analyzed the results of an online survey of 6294 Canadian adults from February 2 to 10, 2016.

Budget winners and losers
The 2016 B.C. budget will make the government more popular with some industries, not so much with others. PwC has put together a summary of how the budget affects your taxes.  Those changes include: extending several business tax credits and introducing provincial sales tax (PST) exemptions for qualifying farmers; increasing the small business venture capital tax credit; and upping the property transfer tax on homes that sell for more than $2 million. 

The budget also increases taxes for credit unions over five years (2016-2020), doubling the current tax: B.C. credit unions will pay a cumulative tax increase of $80 million over that period, making fewer funds available to lend. “We are disappointed to hear about the government's decision and ultimately the greater impacts this will have on the local small business community,” said BlueShore Financial president and CEO Chris Catliff in a statement. “One of the greatest values of credit unions is being able to help small businesses receive the funding they need at a local level, and the result of this means many small business owners may not receive this assistance anymore." 

Piping up
On February 17 Kinder Morgan filed its final written reply argument with the National Energy Board (NEB), over its proposed twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline through Burnaby. The NEB is expected to deliver its verdict on whether to recommend the construction of the pipeline by May 20. The federal government is expected to make a decision by December 2016. If it gets the green light, the company says that the pipeline will be in service by December 2019.

Kinder Morgan's 195-page argument concludes that when the benefits and burdens of the project are fairly balanced, it meets the test of sustainable development and is in the public interest. It also argues that “the project is the safest, most viable and most appropriate option to meet the needs of Canadian oil production while minimizing environmental and social impacts... The Trans Mountain Expansion Project is the right project, at the right time, for Canada.”


The B.C. government opposes the project.