Kelowna: The Kelowna Chamber reacted to the Federal Government’s $497M budget Tuesday afternoon after it was tabled in the House of Commons.
“It’s a budget designed to blunt the effects of 2023 inflation and the economic recession,” says Chamber CEO Dan Rogers. “On first read, without the detail which will follow, there is some good news for businesses in the Okanagan. The capping of the alcohol excise tax from 6.3% to 2% for one year, effective April 1st is good news. The government has also negotiated lower credit card fees paid by small business on an average of 27% on Visa and MasterCard payments, plus implementing some cybersecurity measures through the credit card system.”
“There is also a renewed commitment to bring provincial and federal leaders to the table to finally address interprovincial trade barriers, which would result in immediate gains for BC business,” says Rogers. “Removing interprovincial trade barriers has been something the Kelowna Chamber has been actively advocating for.”
On the negative side, there is no clear plan for GDP growth (0.3% growth in 2023); and the digital services tax (3% on top of GST) is going forward. A big national win for the Chamber network is the proposed new National Supply Chain Strategy, with trade enabling infrastructure. While the strategy hasn’t even been developed yet, the Kelowna Chamber believes it is a step in the right direction.
Tourism also benefits, with $108M over three years to regional development agencies plus $300M to attract international events. The details on this funding will likely be front and centre when the Kelowna Chamber hosts Associate Minister of Finance and Minister of Tourism the Hon. Randy Boissonnault in Kelowna at a post-budget luncheon on Thursday April 6 at 12 noon at the Coast Capri. Tickets for that event with the Federal Tourism Minister and Edmonton Centre MP are on sale now with limited seating available.