Provincial Finance Minister Selina Robinson told a Surrey Board of Trade Zoom meeting on Friday that a comprehensive tax review is “not on our agenda.”
“I want to be really honest and up-front about that,” she said.
This was in response to board CEO Anita Huberman’s question if the NDP government will commit to such a review “and perhaps a tax reform.”
“There are so many taxes, which is eroding businesses’ bottom line,” Huberman said.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Huberman told the Now-Leader in response to Robinson’s answer. “The number-one thing that we’re hearing is related to bottom-line erosion, taxation, additional fees, not only by the B.C. government but by all levels of government. So I was disappointed that that is not part of their economic plan to at least commit to a review of the taxes.”
Robinson offered up some Budget 2022 highlights, including $875 million earmarked for COVID-19 pandemic health response, $633 million over three years to tackle homelessness, $284 million toward providing “affordable, accessible and high-quality child care,” and more than $1 billion for “fighting climate change.”
Specific to Surrey’s housing front, she said, 1,318 homes are in development, under construction or already open with 100 on 81 Avenue for Indigenous individuals, families and elders, and 40 “supportive homes” on 80 Avenue for the homeless.
“These projects are in planning and under construction all over the Surrey area,” Robinson said.
As for health care, “shovels will be in the ground by the middle of next year” for Surrey’s new hospital, to be located in Cloverdale. “The hospital will welcome patients by 2027.”
Concerning the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain expansion, she added, “We expect to see the final project scope, cost and schedule as part of the business plan this fall.”
“Finally, our capital plan invests over $3.1 billion over the next three years to build new schools, to respond to growing enrollment and maintain and seismically upgrade schools throughout the province,” Robinson said. “For Surrey this means funding for expansions at South Meridian elementary and Semiahmoo elementary by 2024.”