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Richmond Chamber Comments on Budget 2024

Press Release

February 22, 2024

RICHMOND, BC – This afternoon, the Hon. Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance announced B.C.’s Budget 2024, which delivers some relief measures for BC businesses and residents who have been struggling with growing costs.

In response to today’s budget, the Chamber’s President & CEO Shaena Furlong said, “today’s announcement did not deliver any huge surprises, but we were very happy to see the increase to the Employer Health Tax threshold to $1 million, which 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. This isn’t the $1.5 million threshold our network had requested, but it’s a meaningful step to address the rising costs of doing business in British Columbia.”

“With the softening of B.C.’s economy (with just 1% growth in 2023, and 0.8% estimated for 2024) as a business association, we are concerned to see record deficit budgets and growing taxpayer supported debts. As always, we believe that the private sector is the best driver of our economy. 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.”

Significant highlights from Budget 2024 for Richmond businesses include:

  • An increase in the Employer Health Tax threshold (EHT) from $500, 000 to $1 million. Businesses with payrolls between $1 million and $1.5 million will continue to be partially exempt and will also see a decrease in tax obligations, though the notch rate for remuneration above the new exemption threshold of $1 million and below the full rate threshold of $1.5 million is increased from 2.925 per cent to 5.850 per cent.
  • Measures to address the housing affordability crisis, which Chamber members share affects the ability of businesses to attract and retain talent. Highlights included the launch of the $400 renter’s tax credit. There is also a new BC Home Flipping Tax, which will be 20% on homes sold within the first 365 days of purchase, reducing to 0% after 2 years from purchase. Furthermore, effective April 1, 2024, the First Time Homebuyers Exemption threshold is increased from a fair market value of $500,000 to $835,000, with the first $500,000 exempt from property transfer tax. The phase out range is $25,000 above the threshold, with the complete elimination of the exemption at $860,000.
  • A year-long BC Electricity Affordability Credit, offering commercial and industrial customers savings of up to 4.6% of their electricity consumption. The Province estimates that the average small business will save $400 over the course of the year. These rebates will be indicated on invoices beginning in April 2024.
  • The Fraser River Tunnel Replacement Project (George Massey) is mentioned in the $43.3 million taxpayer-supported infrastructure budget, though the project is still in the process of obtaining environmental approval.
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