BC Chamber Budget 2010 Facts & Figures

News Releases

KEY BC CHAMBER MESSAGES

Positive Aspects

  • A stable, prudent budget
  • Controlling public spending
  • Some economic initiatives

Areas of concern

  • Debt continues to climb
  • No plan for reform of healthcare, funding continues with no focus on outcomes
  • Overly cautious growth projections
  • Lack of detail on AHRT and Tourism Marketing

The main themes were;

  • Increasing our competitive advantage;
  • Increases for health care and education;
  • Supporting children and families;
  • Building on the momentum of the Olympics;
  • Leadership in clean technology; and
  • Balanced budget by 2013/14

 

Government spending

Over the 3 year budget cycle outlined in Budget 2010, the government has limited spending growth to an average of 2.34%, below the expected rate of growth in the economy.

In addition, Budget 2010 contains a focus on Ministry spending with significant savings coming from many resource Ministries;

Ministry Savings ($ millions)

  • 176 - Forests
  • 22 - Integrated Land Management Bureau
  • 19 - Agriculture and Lands
  • 16 - Community and Rural Development
  • 13 - Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
  • 15 - Transportation and Infrastructure
  • 59 - Efficiencies from shared service centralization

Total three year savings: $320 Million

Much of the savings will come from reductions in staffing levels with an 11% reduction in staffing planned.  While much of this will come from attrition but there will be a requirement for lay-offs to meet these targets.

 

Provincial Debt

As a result, the taxpayer supported debt to GDP ratio will climb to 17.9 per cent in 2011/12 before returning to a downward trend and falling to 17.8 per cent in 2012/13.Taxpayer-supported debt continues to rise, mainly due to the significant infrastructure investments planned over the next three years.

Budget 2010 reaffirms the commitment that once the province returns to balanced budgets, all surpluses will be dedicated to paying down the Province’s operating debt.

 

Economic Growth

2010 will see a return to reasonably strong levels of economic growth.  The Ministry projections are significantly lower than those of the private sector economic Forecast Council.  While it is traditional for the government to build in a degree of prudence by budgeting lower levels of growth than private sector estimates, the level indicated in Budget 2010 is significantly lower than in previous years.

This is a clear indication of ongoing concern from the provincial government over potential risks to global economic recovery.  Indicating such a low level of growth provides the government a greater degree of protection in the event of further challenges to economic growth.

 

HST

Budget 2010 provided no new announcements on HST mitigation.

Budget 2010 does state that all revenue generated by HST will be dedicated to healthcare.

 

Tourism Funding

Tourism funding remains stable with a relatively small reduction to the Ministry over the budget cycle.  Budget 2010 contains a commitment to continue the Additional Hotel Room Tax (AHRT), no detail is provided on the level of the AHRT or the structure of the system.

 

Spending commitments

Healthcare
As has been the case fro several years the only ‘winner’ in terms of spending remains health care.  Budget 2010 will see a $447 million funding increase in 2012/13 to take total spending to $16,127 bn or 38% of all government spending.

In addition to HST (as mentioned above) Budget 2010 also dedicates all revenue from the following sources to healthcare; MSP premiums, tobacco tax, Federal government transfers and Lottery health special account.

Education
Budget 2010 contains a commitment to $150 million over three years to address the cost of full day kindergarden and the increase in teachers wage increases under the collective agreement which expires in June 2011.

Outside this commitment funding to education at both the K12 and the post-secondary level remain at the level announced in the Budget Update 2009.

Stimulous Spending
As part of the ongoing stimulus program at the provincial and federal level $58 million has been made available in 2010/11 for additional provincial operating funding.  This revenue will be allocated on a cost share basis with the local and federal government.

 

New Initiatives and Programs

  • $35 million increase in LiveSmart BC program
  • $100 million for climate action and energy development in support of:
    • Cleaner transportation choices
    • Production of bio-fuels
    • New forms of electricity generation
  • $69 million for improvements to the justice system and public safety
    • $30 million to maintain the court system
    • $39 million to fund additional RCMP policing costs
  • Expansion to the International Financial Activity Program to include;
    • Digital media publishing and distribution
    • Carbon trading and certification
    • Clean technology
    • Investment funds
  • $60 million for a 2010 sports and arts legacy
    • $30 million for sport
    • $30 million for arts

Risks

  • A double dip recession
  • Slower demand for BC products
  • A higher than forecast Canadian dollar
  • Further weakening of the US dollar disrupting global financial and commodity markets

 

For further details, please contact:

John Winter
President & CEO
BC Chamber of Commerce
C 604.376.3577
jwinter@bcchamber.org