B.C. budget: Kelowna Chamber of Commerce says lack of relief for small business – Okanagan

Andre Thomas has been a small business owner for 25 years.

“I think it’s probably the worst thing ever,” said Thomas.

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The Memphis Blues BBQ House restaurant owner says COVID has hit his Kelowna business hard. Since then there have been a string of other hits.

“So many things,” Thomas told Global News. “Labor shortages, cost of goods, rising minimum wages and health benefits.”

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and its BC counterparts have called for tax breaks for small businesses, including a health business owner tax, in advance of the Budget, but the Budget has failed to meet those demands.

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Dan Rogers, executive director of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, said:

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BC budget does not support small businesses

“At least it’s a signal, a signal that we understand the pain and challenges you face, and that’s what we were looking for,” Rogers said.

“It would have been nice to have some tax cuts if the tax rate had been adjusted somewhat to help small businesses, but there was nothing in the document that would have sent that signal. think.”

Rogers added that the “missed opportunity” would have far-reaching implications.

“If we don’t address this issue, the economic recovery will slow and it will affect everyone,” Rogers said.

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There have been several reliefs announced in the small business budget.

About $500 million is needed over the next three years to develop skills and training, but it’s unclear exactly who will be eligible and when it will be rolled out.

“We are told that the plan won’t be implemented until the end of 2023, so we don’t know how it will play out or how much funding will help small businesses in the Okanagan,” Rogers said. “Some of the details are still out, so I’m a little worried.”

At Memphis Blues, Thomas does what he can to survive and thrive. This includes the recent addition of a bourbon bar to his eatery in an attempt to generate revenue.

“It seems counterintuitive that we invested a little more money last fall and underwent a major bar renovation with the goal of increasing our bottom line,” says Thomas. Address the challenges facing small businesses. ”

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Local governments are being asked to better support small businesses

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