February 20, 2002

B.C. new car dealers cautiously optimistic about tough new B.C. budget

Vancouver, B.C. – New car dealers in BC will accept the “bitter pill” of the 2002 Provincial Budget if the full benefits of the three year economic renewal program outlined in the Budget Speech yesterday by Finance Minister Gary Collins become reality.

Glen Ringdal, President and CEO of the BC Automobile Dealers Association (BCADA), said his members – the 330 new car dealers throughout the province – cannot be happy that the cost of buying a vehicle, new or used, will rise as a result of the increase in Provincial Sales Tax from 7 to 7.5 percent. It will add an average of $115-$125 to the cost of a new car or truck.

“The budget has brought home some uncomfortable realities to many British Columbians – about government revenues and expenditures especially as they relate to ordinary taxpayers and historic government programs. In many cases, they are bitter pills to swallow,” Ringdal said.

But the Budget Speech – a three year economic path for provincial government revenue and spending focused on eliminating the provincial operating deficit by 2004-5 – is viewed by the BCADA as an optimistic document that will provide a stronger economy and a better life for most British Columbians.

“The projections and expectations of the Budget are conservative and achievable barring any unexpected developments in the world economy,” Ringdal said. “We think Mr. Collins has been realistic and has confronted the existing economic problems in BC head-on.”

“We appreciate the moves the government is making to encourage job creation and investment in BC while reducing barriers to business through removal of paperwork and unproductive regulations.”

“We couldn’t help but notice that the lack of major capital expenditures planned by the government over the next three years included major roadways and transportation infrastructure,” Ringdal cautioned. “We are very anxious to hear the government’s plans for alternative financing programs for such necessary projects, including P3s. It is our position that our major roadways – particularly in the lower mainland – need serious attention to facilitate the effective movement of people and goods throughout the region. The BCADA will be pressing governments (Provincial, Federal and Municipal) to join with other stakeholders in addressing this issue,” he said.

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