B.C. boosts venture capital tax breaks

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Premier Christy Clark speaks to Surrey Board of Trade breakfast meeting Wednesday.

The B.C. government will add an extra $3 million to its small business venture capital tax credit and set up an expert panel to review business taxes in B.C., Premier Christy Clark announced Wednesday.

The province currently budgets $30 million a year to provide tax credits to risk-taking investors who put money into qualifying ventures, Clark told a Surrey Board of Trade breakfast meeting.

“One of the things we know is that the majority of new jobs in any economy are created by new businesses,” Clark said. “We’ll be expanding [the tax credit program] so more angel investors can get a 30 per cent refundable tax credit for eligible small businesses. And that means these job creators will get a leg up on capital, it means they’ll get a leg up on hiring and on receiving the strategic advice that they need from experienced investors in the marketplace.”

The announcement is the third in a week-long series of campaign-style stops to roll out an employment development plan that Clark is pitching as “the central mission of my job as premier.”

Monday she visited Prince Rupert to announce a $90 million expansion of the Ridley Island bulk commodity port, cost shared with the federal government and CN Rail. Tuesday in Kamloops, Clark set a target of increasing international students in B.C. by 50 per cent, with regional panels to identify the skills required for new workers.

In Surrey, Clark also announced that the B.C. government will extend its apprenticeship training tax credit program until 2014. That program currently spends $31 million a year on refundable tax credits for wages paid to eligible apprentices.

Clark also vowed to extend the B.C. Liberal government’s commitment to no net increase in regulations, and to introduce legislation that will simplify government approvals and reduce regulations on citizens and small businesses.

NDP leader Adrian Dix said Wednesday the premier’s initial job announcements have been disappointing, and he expects to see a full plan with job creation targets by the end of this week.

“Clearly what we’ve seen so far is a list of things that were already in the government’s in-basket that they’re just patching together as a series of announcements for her,” Dix said.

One way the government could create construction jobs would be to get rid of the harmonized sales tax sooner than the spring of 2013, he added.

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