10 Jan Report: BC’s fiscal future depends on investing in the drivers of the 21st century economy
January 10th, 2022
VANCOUVER, BC –
With British Columbia facing a number of economic challenges, including Covid-19 , as well as the global opportunity of the clean economic transition, a new report from the BC Tech Association (BC Tech) surveys the trends of BC’s government revenues over the last 20 years.
Titled A New Economic Narrative for BC: BC’s Fiscal Future, the report highlights the central importance of individual tax revenues and the declining importance of natural resources to the province’s revenue base and recommends three policy priorities for government’s forthcoming economic plan.
“The BC government faces many demands on its limited fiscal capacity, and our ability to deliver needed investments in education, healthcare, childcare and infrastructure are at risk over the medium-term if we don’t adjust our priorities to the drivers of the 21st century economy,” said Jill Tipping, President and CEO of BC Tech. “The central importance of individuals to BC’s revenue base means that for government to sustain its own revenues it must support and invest in sectors like the tech sector that have the capacity to create many more well-paying jobs.”
The report identifies five key features that define BC’s financial situation today:
- BC’s aging population brings fiscal risk – a Canada-wide problem BC cannot ignore
- An overheated housing market is an unhealthy source of revenues
- Resource revenues are declining
- High employment in growing sectors is key for sustainable government revenues
- The income and consumption taxes paid by individuals are BC’s most significant, least volatile source of revenues
“This report reminds us that we must modernize our current industries and pursue new ones to build a successful economy in the 21st century,” said Merran Smith, Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada. “We must lean into the clean economic transition taking place globally, which presents massive opportunities to B.C. By integrating the CleanBC climate plan with an ambitious economic plan that prioritizes industries for long-term growth, B.C. can build a prosperous and truly sustainable economy.”
To drive business development and economic growth today, “we need to prioritize investment in the skills and training needed to thrive in the knowledge-based economy,” said Tipping. “We need to equip as many people as possible with the skills and training needed to realize the full potential of our talent pool, and we need to properly quantify the economic windfall this investment would deliver.”
The report recommends three priority policy areas for the BC government to strengthen BC’s fiscal future:
- Invest in sectors with growth potential, that provide high levels of employment and well-paying jobs;
- Prioritize education and skills training to drive growth in the knowledge-based economy;
- Capture better data to drive decision-making.
“We must acknowledge that BC’s economy has changed and is continuing to change at a rapid pace, and that we cannot afford to chase the ghosts of economies past,” said Tipping. “The BC government needs to be planning ahead, ensuring that revenues come from reliable, sustainable sources that are projected to grow as the global economy transitions.”
A copy of A New Economic Narrative for B.C.: BC’s Fiscal Future is available here.
About the BC Tech Association
BC Tech is the largest member-led technology non-profit in British Columbia, and is dedicated to turning startups into scaleups. BC Tech accelerates tech company growth by helping members expand and diversify their talent pools, acquire new customers, and access capital. Tech is a key industry for B.C.’s future and builds resiliency in every sector. Today, every company is a tech company.