The provincial budget should be focused on unlocking new doors to the economy and maintaining the fundamentals of running B.C., according to the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, and new spending initiatives should be curtailed.
Chamber CEO Christie Ray, president Derek Dougherty and vice-president Cindi Pohl presented these views, on behalf of their 900 members, to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. The committee visited Prince George this week as part of their provincial consultation tour, gathering advise on how the annual provincial budget ought to be designed.
Ray, Dougherty and Pohl outlined some of the recent things they believed to be positive steps, contained in recent budgets, and added what they called "a set of core principles" for building the next ones. Six suggestions were put on the table "for cautious allocation of fiscal resources, and strategic new investments that maintain momentum toward a sustainable knowledge-based resource economy connected to the world, they said.
The six items for government consideration were:
- Balance the budget before undertaking new expenditures;
- Community ustainability and business stability require economic diversification around areas of strength;
- Support business through effective infrastructure and workforce, both locally and regionally;
- Education and skills development in Prince George and region are key foundations;
- Healthy communities are necessary for healthy businesses;
- Efficient settlement of land claims in a fair, just manner.
These were the highlights that came together in summary form from a wider document the Prince George Chamber made public at the committee's hearing.
To see the entire document presented by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce to the B.C. Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, please visit www.pgchamber.bc.ca and look under the Media Release tab.
The full document is also provided in the Prince George Citizen's web version of this story.