Few incentives in spending-heavy B.C. budget, global downturn worries business

VICTORIA — Business leaders say they're concerned the British Columbia government's budget pays too little attention to the potential impacts of a slowing global economy and a shifting housing market.

B.C. Business Council president Greg D'Avignon says finance Minister Carole James is banking on robust economic growth to fund long-term social and environment programs amounting to $2 billion over the next three years.

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He says the council, which represents many of the largest employers in the province, credits the government for the initiatives that support families and environment programs, but the government is taking business for granted in a darkening economy.

Real estate developer Jason Turcotte says the government depends on tax revenue from home sales to help fund its programs, but the budget hinders new property developments which create that wealth.

James says B.C. is forecast to lead Canada in economic growth for the next two years and her budget has set aside more than $2.6 billion in contingency and allowance funds in the event of a downturn.

Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says the budget does nothing to stimulate the economy.

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