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

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Northwestern BC Hydro transmission line to be refurbished

Replacing poles between Kitimat and Terrace far cheaper than complete new line

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

B.C.’s natural gas supply could see 50% dip through winter due to pipeline blast

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Prince George on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

2 Canadians advance to finals at world wrestling championships

Olympic champion Erica Wiebe just missed joining them with a loss 3-1 to three-time world champion Adeline Gray of the United States in the 76-kg event

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic small-town B.C. restaurant

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

Most Read