“Today the world’s financial system is in the grips of its worst crisis in over 75 years. World stock markets are reeling, commodity prices are plunging and the world’s financial system is under attack,” said Premier Campbell. “The ripple effects are being felt in every corner of the globe and every region of our province. There are no easy solutions to these problems. However, we are going to act immediately to alleviate the impacts and to emerge stronger than ever.”
Premier Campbell outlined 10 key measures during his address:
1. Unlimited deposit insurance for deposits to
credit unions: The Province intends to provide unlimited deposit insurance
protection on deposits to
2. A new pension opportunity: The Province
will create a new private sector pension opportunity for British Columbians who
currently have no access to a pension plan. About 75 per cent of private sector
workers in B.C. currently have no access to a group pension plan. Flowing from
work done with the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards with
3. An accelerated, retroactive personal income
tax cut: There will be a five per cent personal income tax reduction
retroactive to January 1, 2008. This
includes the two per cent tax cut that took effect July 1 of this year as well
as the planned three per cent reduction that was to take effect January 1,
2009. Taxpayers will see the retroactive
benefit on their 2008 tax return. It will put an additional $144 million in the
pockets of British Columbians.
4. School property tax rebate for industry: 50
per cent of all school property taxes will be rebated to light and heavy
industry to help some of B.C.’s oldest and largest employers, particularly in
5. Accelerated tax relief for small business:
Effective December 1, 2008 the small business income tax rate will be reduced
to 2.5 per cent from the current 3.5 per cent. Small business income tax rates
were already reduced from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent on July 1, 2008 with a
plan to reduce them to 2.5 per cent by 2011. This will accelerate that tax cut
by two years, resulting in a 44 per cent tax cut for small business this year
alone. The savings to small business will be $146 million over three years.
6. Double commission paid to business for PST and HRT collection: The Province will double the commission it pays business for collecting the provincial sales tax and hotel room tax. That will provide more than 100,000 businesses with approximately $60 million over three years and add up to $1,200 to a business’s bottom line.
7. Accelerated public infrastructure: The Province will accelerate public investments in capital infrastructure projects. Funding will focus on projects without a long lead time that will keep people employed in our construction sector.
8. 33 per cent reduction in ferry fares for
December and January: The Province will fund a 33 per cent reduction of
ferry fares on all routes for December and January. This is on top of the
upcoming 50 per cent reduction in the fuel surcharge on ferry fees that will
come into effect November 4. In addition, ferry service levels for all routes,
9. Rein in avoidable government spending: The
Province will re-evaluate spending priorities and focus on scaling back
10. Recall the Legislature: As a number of these measures require legislative approval, the Legislature will be recalled on November 20.
These measures account for an additional accumulation of $485 million in tax relief and support for businesses, families and individuals over the next three years.
“These measures are as aggressive as our current fiscal outlook allows, without compromising our ability to balance the budget or cut previously planned funding lifts for critical government services such as health care and education,” said Premier Campbell “These measures will provide relief for families, workers and businesses by putting more money back into taxpayers’ pockets.”
Earlier in the day, Premier Campbell announced a series of initiatives to ensure the province is getting the best possible input and expert advice on ways to improve in competitiveness and productivity. They include:
A new Economic Advisory Council composed of some
A “New North” Economic Summit will be organized
for January in
A two-day Economic Summit will be held in
New measures will be taken to implement the
Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement with
· B.C. will work with other provinces and the federal government to eliminate regulatory duplication and reduce costs of federal-provincial overlap.
Office of the Premier
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