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BC 2024 Budget: How will it impact Richmond businesses?

Richmond Chamber of Commerce applauds the province’s relief measures for B.C. businesses struggling with growing costs
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The Fraser River tunnel project is included in B.C. Budget 2024/2025.

B.C.'s finance minister revealed the province’s 2024-2025 budget on Thursday, including some relief measures that will have a direct impact on Richmond businesses.

One of the highlights from the budget is that the province increased the employer health tax threshold to $1 million from $500,000, which means that small businesses that make less than $1 million will be exempt from the tax.

“Today’s announcement did not deliver any huge surprises, but we were very happy to see the increase to the employer health tax threshold,” said Shaena Furlong, president and CEO of Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

Although this isn’t the $1.5 million threshold the chamber and its network had requested, she added, it’s a meaningful step towards addressing the rising cost of doing business in B.C.

“[It] will be a significant relief to many small businesses, and allow them to keep more money on their balance sheet to reinvest in their business and their employees,” said Furlong.

The minister also announced a year-long B.C. “electricity affordability” credit for households, while commercial and industrial power users will get 4.6 per cent shaved off their electricity bills, saving small businesses on average $400 per year.

There were also measures to address the housing affordability crisis, which will affect Richmond businesses’ ability to attract and retain talent.

These include the launch of the $400 renter’s tax credit, and increasing the first time homebuyer's exemption threshold from a market value of $500,000 to $835,000, with the first #500,000 exempt from property transfer tax.

However, Furlong said the chamber is concerned to see record deficit budgets and growing taxpayer supported debt in the budget with the softening of B.C.’s economy. Budget 2024 now puts the deficit for 2024-25 at $7.9 billion.

“Meaningful support for business growth and investment, coupled with competitive, predictable regulatory and tax regimes will help create jobs and grow our economy, allowing B.C. to support the many services our residents benefit from now and in the future,” she said.

$1.5 billion in funding for the George Massey Tunnel replacement project connecting Richmond and Delta is included in the budget, although the project is still in the process of obtaining environmental approval.

- With files from Nelson Bennett/BIV

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