Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The Vancouver Board of Trade, representing thousands of businesses in British Columbia, has assigned an overall grade of "B+" to Economic Action Plan 2014, based on strong progress towards a surplus budget and overall focus on fiscal prudence.
"Economic Action Plan 2014 reinforced a stable financial platform for our Members, together with certain targeted initiatives that will help our Members," said Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade. "We are also pleased to see that the government has taken the difficult step to address some inequities within public sector compensation, as The Vancouver Board of Trade has specifically requested for years."
The Vancouver Board of Trade graded Economic Action Plan 2014 on four criteria and assessed whether the budget met the Board of Trade's recommendations, which were previously submitted to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in a detailed letter.
2014 REPORT CARD RESULTS
Debt Management: A
The federal government is on track to achieve its target debt-to-GDP ratio of 25 per cent by 2021, evidenced by projected surplus budgets in the very short term. This will benefit taxpayers through lower debt-servicing costs and will help Canada maintain its strong triple-A credit rating in an uncertain economy. The projected surplus for next year has doubled, and the current budget will all but balance.
Spending Management: A-
The federal government has demonstrated significant spending restraint, without implementing drastic cuts. These measures have further reduced the relative size of the government and will help to balance future budgets.
Tax Competitiveness: B+
Economic Action Plan 2014 does not propose any tax rate increases, and it includes several measures intended to simplify the tax system for small business, both administratively and substantively. The Action Plan does not introduce any sweeping unexpected tax policy changes. In addition, there are several tax policy consultations, particularly in the area of international tax.
Economic Vision: B
The Canada First Research Excellence Fund demonstrates a commitment to keeping Canada competitive in research and innovation in the global economy. Further, the money allocated to bringing internet access to more Canadians is a positive step to help northern businesses to participate and be more competitive in the Canadian economy.
The Vancouver Board of Trade is also pleased to see the investment in application processing by the NEB, and a continued commitment to workforce training and strengthening Canada's labour market, including the creation of the Canada Apprentice Loan program and assistance for persons with disabilities. However, we would have liked to see more details with respect to the Building Canada fund, and how B.C.'s needs as an exporting economy will be met.
About The Vancouver Board of Trade:
For 127 years, The Vancouver Board of Trade has worked on behalf of our region's business community to promote prosperity through commerce, trade, and free enterprise. As Western Canada's largest, most active, most engaged business organization, The Vancouver Board of Trade strives to enable and empower its members to succeed, grow and prosper in the global economy. For more information, visit boardoftrade.com.
The Vancouver Board of Trade