Real estate, low dollar keep B.C. in the black

Property transfer tax up $150 million from spring budget, tourism and movie business surge due to 75-cent Canadian dollar

Finance Minister Mike de Jong

The B.C. government expects to finish the fiscal year next March with a $265 million surplus, thanks to surging property transfer tax revenues and a lower Canadian dollar that helps everything from tourism to the movie and TV industry.

Government revenues have declined due to lower natural gas, metals and other natural resources, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Tuesday in his second quarter financial update. But with a continued hot real estate market in southwestern B.C. and housing starts running above average, property purchase tax revenue is $150 million ahead of the February budget forecast.

Retail sales are running 7.2 per cent ahead of last year for the period of April to August, with vehicle and parts sales up 9.5 per cent and food and beverage up 7.5 per cent.

De Jong said the Canadian dollar, currently trading at 75 cents U.S., has cut down on cross-border shopping trips from B.C. and contributed to a rebound of tourism, which along with stronger employment has helped increase retail sales.

The dollar exchange rate has also led to an increase in movie and TV production, which costs the province because of the big tax incentives offered to lure foreign productions here.

Foreign movie companies get a 25 per cent tax rebate for all spending on labour in the province, and the latest estimate is those credits will climb to a record $514 million for the current year. De Jong said B.C. remains competitive in the movie business despite Ontario increasing its tax credits in 2009 to cover 25 per cent of all spending by foreign movie and TV production companies.

Forest fire expenses were higher than average this year, but not as high as expected earlier in the season.

Exports from B.C. are down overall, with economic growth projections downgraded for the U.S., Canada, China and Japan, which de Jong said is now back in a recession.

 

Just Posted

Council approves facelift for three blocks of Broadway

Downtown revitalization plans shortened by half to stay within budget

Nakusp council briefs May 14

Donations, dogs and fitness on agenda

Ten affordable housing units coming to Nakusp

BC Housing and CBT funding approved

Aiming high at Nakusp Secondary School

Ourdoor ed students behind indoor climbing wall for community use

Kootenay unemployment rate down in April

Jobless figure stood at 5.4% last month

Trans Mountain pipeline: Is it worth the risk?

Concerns range from the threat of an oil spill to the impact of tanker traffic on wildlife

B.C. to spend $181M to create 200 general practitioner jobs

Jobs will go to new medical school graduates

Federal leaders trade barbs about India trip at press gallery dinner

Justin Trudeau’s infamous trip to India earlier this year was the focus of many of the jabs

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Most Read