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

UPDATE: One dead, two in hospital after Highway 1 crash near Bridal Falls

Closure expected to last hours, while drivers are told to take detours

Pawnshops support curbing crime with digital database

At least two pawnshops in Penticton are in support of upgrading to a digital list of items purchased

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Evacuation orders lifted around Osoyoos Lake

An evacuation order lifted for 15 properties around lake

Buy a lotto ticket and be a hero to B.C. burn victims

The Hometown Heroes Lottery is offering up seven grand prizes including a home in Lake Country

UPDATE: Grass fire burns near Mission Hill winery

Smoke can be seen around West Kelowna as a fire gets underway near Mission Hill

Vernon SAR manager wins national volunteer award

A Vernon Search and Rescue manager was one of those honoured for her dedication and innovation.

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Most Read