– Focus on Tax Competitiveness Measures Needed in BC
The Surrey Board of Trade knows that today’s Throne Speech by the BC Government sets out general policy priorities. The BC Budget, to be presented on February 22, will set out how the government plans to pay for that agenda, and any revenue-generating opportunities that are possible. “The 2022 BC Government Throne Speech highlighted improvements to healthcare, childcare, workforce, transportation infrastructure and the agritech sector,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“The Surrey Board of Trade did not hear about improving tax competitiveness or steps towards looking at tax reform for business, such as addressing Employer Health Tax issues or red tape reduction. Reconceiving our provincial tax system is a must to rebuild our economy, critical to BC’s ability to recover from COVID-19’s impact.”
Economic Recovery Minister Ravi Kahlon says Premier John Horgan will unveil the government’s long-range economic development plan next week that addresses future job opportunities and how the Province plans to meet the challenges of a transitioning economy. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is likely going to announce an easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Surrey Board of Trade is committed to making Surrey an opportunity city by instigating change at all levels of government, to support and attract business. We reiterate our 10-step economic guideline for the upcoming BC Budget on February 22:
This won’t be the last pandemic or disaster that we face. We need to manage and contain the virus but, at the same time, governments can continue to unlock potential in primary care, digital and telehealth sectors to make these services efficient and accessible to all.
Re-skilling and up-skilling must continue to be a priority. Governments need to continue to rethink and implement new learning and education systems. Best practices include adopting hybrid learning models, building skills-based learning modules, funding continuous learning courses, and creating virtual resource centres. Governments and employers can also foster an effective re-skilling ecosystem that includes micro-credentialing for lifelong learning.
3. INTERNATIONAL TRADE & SUPPLY CHAINS
Companies will need to make their supply chains more resilient—for example, by reducing the number of unique parts, building in redundancy across suppliers, near-shoring, and regionalizing supply chains. In addition to securing health equipment and essential food supplies, governments can help companies increase their resilience. At the same time, governments may need to consider the policy implications of remote working in the knowledge economy: as exports of highly skilled services grow.
Stimulus needs to work. Some best practices could include expanding green energy and energy efficiency; accelerating government digitization and offering companies incentives to adopt new technologies; and shaping the workforce of the future to increase resilience in the face of rising automation.
5. GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY
Deliver contactless government. The COVID-19 pandemic has made digital transformation a priority— digital channels have become more important, and citizens and customers increasingly prefer them. Examples of best practices include automating daily data collection from key operators to closely monitor and support decision making about critical food items at risk, as well as the use of “express digitization”— rapid development of automated online platforms.
6. FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY
Manage government balance sheets with an investor mindset. Many countries have applied traditional debt issuance, revenue optimization, and expenditure control to address the immediate challenge, all of which can be further optimized. Over the medium term—one to three years—governments could monetize the assets on their balance sheets, a strategy that represents a largely untapped and potentially greater opportunity to raise additional revenue and reduce deficits.
7. PREPARE FOR THE NEXT CRISIS NOW
Institutionalize best-practice crisis response to prepare for the next crisis. The COVID-19 crisis has pushed many countries to identify and start creating the elements of an effective local outbreak response. Several governments have established crisis nerve centres, enabling coordination of multiple work streams across existing crisis-response structures in government and society for greater response. Establish a plan-ahead crisis unit (for example for an earthquake or flood) —a cross-functional team freed from day-to-day crisis management that looks ahead and considers simulations of various scenarios.
8. DATA & ANALYTICS TO HELP ALL BUSINESSES AND REDUCE CITIZEN INEQUALITIES
Make faster, better decisions using data and analytics. Assemble cross-functional teams to develop analytics solutions for faster responses to changing situations and emerging risks and issues. Next practices might include applying advanced use cases in data and analytics, such as nowcasting—forecasting the near future, present, and even the recent past using frequently measured indicators—to inform policy and decision making.
9. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES – A SMARTER WAY TO WORK
Cultivate smarter, more productive ways for public servants to work. Automation could strengthen public-service productivity and move significant numbers of public servants from back-office jobs into more valuable and meaningful citizen-facing roles.
10. PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS ARE ESSENTIAL
Partnering with the private sector and multinational institutions to design and implement well-structured stimulus measures, can help government prepare workforces for a technology-focused future and improve the long-term competitiveness and resilience of key industries.