Budget for the Future Requires Investment in Technology and Innovation
February 20, 2018 | Press Release
BC Tech Association
Today, the BC NDP Government released its first full budget on the theme of making life more affordable for British Columbians.
The focus was the widely-trailed investments in childcare, which took BC on the first steps to a path to universal child care. Housing was another area where significant action was anticipated, and the budget went even further than expected with a host of measures which will have a sizeable impact on the housing market.
The good news for the tech sector included:
The extension of the interactive digital media tax credit through 31 August 2023.
Confirmed funding through 2020/21 for the additional post-secondary places in tech related fields announced earlier this year – part of the BC Government’s promise to invest an incremental $100M in tech relevant post-secondary places.
Measures to invest in K to 12 and post-secondary education, notably on the capital infrastructure side as well as confirmation of the funding of previously announced STEM education measures and investment in 5,000 new student housing spaces.
There was limited content on innovation other than reference to the welcome recent appointment of Dr. Alan Winter as BC’s very first Innovation Commissioner – in the coming months we hope to see the development of a comprehensive innovation policy.
The Budget was silent on the mechanism to deliver the investment the BC Government will make in the BC-born Digital Technology Supercluster, confirmed last week as one of five winning bids that will share $950M in federal funding – we look forward to more details shortly.
Less positive news for the tech sector includes:
A new payroll tax from 1 January 2019 which will hit employers with payrolls of $500,000 or more at progressive rates which top out at 1.95% for employers with payrolls of $1,500,000 or more. This is a new cost that will impact many of our tech company members and plenty of other small and medium sized businesses across BC. We welcome comment and feedback from our members on how this will impact your businesses as there will be an opportunity for discussions with the Government before the implementation date.
On balance today’s budget delivered in line with expectations for the first full year budget from the NDP.
Looking to the future BC Tech will advocate that much more is needed: a budget for BC’s future needs serious investment in innovation and technology.
READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE HERE