FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
B.C.'s Certified General Accountants Offer Mixed Reaction to a Green Budget
Victoria, B.C. – February 19, 2008 – B.C.’s Certified General Accountants gave today’s “Going Green” provincial budget a mixed review. “We would have liked more carrots and fewer sticks,” says Pat Keller, FCGA, President of CGA-BC.
"The government has taken some good measures to tackle the environment and reduce business taxes to some of the lowest in Canada. However, we are concerned with the introduction of a carbon tax and a lack of action on the expanding provincial debt," says Keller.
This budget puts an emphasis on the environment, but CGA-BC has concerns regarding the introduction of a carbon tax or any new tax. "We prefer a ‘carrot’ rather than a ‘stick’ approach; give people incentives for going green rather than taxing them."
The Finance Minister says that this is a legacy budget. Certified General Accountants believe that the two most important legacies are a healthy environment and a debt-free future. “It’s not enough to leave a legacy to our kids of a province worth living in,” says Keller. "We want to leave a province where they can afford to live."
Ultimately, CGA-BC believes that the key to a strong economy and a healthy environment is to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce the accumulated provincial debt. The debt continues to grow and will increase by $7.5 billion over the next three years and will hit $42.47 billion by 2010/2011. It now costs some $2.2 billion a year to pay the interest on that debt.
"The debt acts as a millstone around our necks and it’s getting heavier."
B.C. spends $2.2 billion a year annually servicing the debt. That is more than twice the amount the government is spending over the next four years on its Climate Action Plan. “We need the government to be as committed to implementing a debt management plan as it was to balancing the budget, and is now in helping the environment,” says Keller.
As the province’s largest professional accounting association, CGA-BC represents more than 13,000 CGAs and students. Members work in industry, commerce, government, and in public practice. The Association promotes the excellence of its members and advances the accounting profession through education, certification and the protection of the public interest.
For more information, contact: [edowning#cga-bc,org]Edward Downing, Director of Communications, (778) 838-6334.