and Corporate Relations
A Three-Year Plan:
Meeting the challenge together
Message from Minister of Finance
Budget '98 presents a three-year plan to stimulate the B.C. economy, encourage investment and create new jobs.
We're cutting taxes for businesses, families and individuals. We're giving small business a break.
We're cutting red tape and creating a positive climate for business. We're sending a strong signal to investors -- we're making B.C. competitive.
We consulted closely with B.C. business, labour and communities. The result is a three-year plan that builds on British Columbia's strengths and charts new directions for our traditional industries and for the new knowledge-based economy.
B.C. has led the country in job creation for most of the decade. This budget helps meet the challenges we face today. At the same time, we will improve our financial position, reduce the deficit as we have done every year since 1991, and move toward a balanced budget.
Working together, we will move forward to a more prosperous future in all parts of the province.
I am pleased to present this plan to all British Columbians.
A THREE-YEAR PLAN TO STIMULATE
To stimulate growth, encourage investment, increase competitiveness and create jobs, we have consulted widely and prepared a plan which:
Over the next three years, tax cuts totalling $415 million annually will stimulate new investment and job creation.
These are in addition to more than $800 million in tax reductions and rate freezes since 1995.
We will cut red tape in B.C. -- the relationship between individual companies and government has become complex and inefficient:
Small business creates most new jobs and provides many first jobs for young people.
The plan supports small business by cutting taxes and streamlining regulation:
This builds on the 1996 small business income tax cut of 10 per cent and the two-year tax holiday.
The plan will help our traditional industries stay competitive and continue their key role in B.C.'s economy. Initiatives are being developed to cut costs and spur new investment:
Forestry -- By July 1, stumpage reductions and regulatory changes will cut costs substantially and generate investment without eroding environmental standards.
Oil and Gas -- New incentives and regulatory changes will follow the Premier's Oil and Gas Initiative to stimulate investment in exploration and development.
Mining -- Government is working with industry to improve security of access, develop a new exploration code and cut red tape.
Agriculture -- Funding is earmarked to help farmers recover from weather-related crop failures. Effective June 1, the fuel tax will be eliminated for farmers.
B.C.'s "new economy" such as knowledge-based industries and film and TV production is growing rapidly, based on B.C.'s highly skilled people and our attractive quality of life. The plan includes:
Government has consulted widely in preparing the three-year plan and consultation will continue:
Government's 1997/98 fiscal and debt management targets were met or exceeded. The three-year financial plan will see:
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