Restaurants like this one in Victoria are getting by on mostly take-out business as winter closes in, and some tourism-dependent businesses have already shut down for good. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Restaurants like this one in Victoria are getting by on mostly take-out business as winter closes in, and some tourism-dependent businesses have already shut down for good. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. VOTES 2020

B.C. Liberals offer bridge financing, no more small business tax

Tourism, hospitality companies may close by Christmas

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has added to his tax incentive program with a vow to provide bridge financing to fading small businesses and permanently eliminate their business income tax.

The extra relief is urgently needed for tourism and hospitality-related businesses who are saying they will decide by Christmas whether they can carry on in 2021, Wilkinson said at an independent clothing retailer in Delta Oct. 8. He promised a loan guarantee program to help small tourism and hospitality firms keep bank financing going as they struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timing of the loan guarantees depends on the Oct. 24 election being resolved and a new government being in place once a record number of mail-in ballots are counted, Wilkinson said.

“We have to be able to tell them, let’s plan for a vaccine,” he said. “Let’s plan for a return of international tourism. Let’s plan for the U.S. border opening again, so that those hotels in Victoria can have customers, so those tourism operators in the Georgia Strait can do whale watching again, so that people in the Interior can reopen the fishing camps.”

The small business income tax is currently set at two per cent, a reduction from 2.5 per cent that both the B.C. Liberals and NDP promised in the 2017 election. Former finance minister Carole James made good on that promise, retroactive to April 2017, and raised the large corporate income tax rate from 11 to 12 per cent to make up revenue to the province.

RELATED: NDP matched small business tax cut promise in 2017

RELATED: Cut sales tax, boost daycare, Business Council says

Wilkinson noted that Manitoba eliminated its small business income tax a decade ago. He said the current tax takes in about $220 million in a pre-pandemic B.C. economy, and while greatly diminished this year and likely in 2021, forgoing the provincial income is worth it to “turbocharge” the recovery.

The B.C. Liberal promise continues an election theme where the NDP offers direct payment to individuals and their main opponents offer assistance through the tax system. NDP leader John Horgan said this week his plan to send another round of $1,000 pandemic assistance payments to families earning under $125,000 was a direct response to Wilkinson’s offer of a year-long elimination of the provincial sales tax.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Even though the CP Holiday Train is not running this year, CP has made donations to the food banks along its usual routes (including the one in Ashcroft), and will also be broadcasting a special live Holiday Train concert on Dec. 12. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
CP Holiday Train rolling into homes with a virtual concert

CP has made donations to all the food banks that would normally benefit from the annual event

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital

The wooden sign at the entrance to the parking lot at the Heritage Park in Ashcroft blew down in high winds on Oct. 10. Council has made an assessment of the park and its structures one of the priorities in its new strategic plan. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Ashcroft council lays out strategic plan for next two years

Trails master plan, a second North Ashcroft reservoir, and the Heritage Park all on the list

Cache Creek Village office, date unknown. (Photo credit: Wendy Coomber)
Cache Creek to move to quarterly utility billing in new year

Council also discussed the possibility of heavy flooding in spring 2021

Lytton RCMP Sgt. Curtis Davis accepts a plaque from Patsy Weekley of the Lytton post office in Oct. 2018, to commemorate a first responders stamp from Canada Post. (Photo credit: Submitted)
Lytton RCMP sergeant says farewell as posting comes to an end

Sgt. Curtis Davis is transferring out of Lytton and is sad to be leaving the area

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

Most Read