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New chamber president seeks to reform tax laws

Terry Becker is the new president of the chamber of commerce. - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Terry Becker is the new president of the chamber of commerce.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Terry Becker is the new president of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce, after Ken Holland decided to step down six months before the end of his first term.

Becker has been sitting as the chamber’s vice-president and said moving into the top role is something she’s been preparing for.

Holland said he decided to step back so he could focus on his business, Pinnacle Home Designs, as well as his role as the new president of the Rotary Club of Haney.

Becker, the past president of the local rotary chapter, said she understands Holland’s decision to leave the chamber.

“I know full well the commitment needed to do that job, so leaving now seems to make all the sense in the world,” she said.

Holland was elected president of the chamber in 2011, with its next AGM is slated for November of 2013.

Becker, a paralegal and office administrator at Becker and Company Lawyers, said one her first orders of business will be to press the Liberals to reform tax laws. She said, agree or not with the recent switch back to the PST/GST system, the current system is in desperate need of an overhaul.

“From an administrative standpoint, it’s archaic,” said Becker, “It’s a step backwards. So I’d like to see what we can do about it from a small business standpoint.”

Becker said her own business is the perfect example of how the change affects small business. With the switch back to the PST, Becker said she had to file 17 different tax returns, as opposed to just five under the HST.

“Administratively, it was just one more thing for small businesses to deal with.”

Becker said she also plans to keep a close eye on a recent ruling by the federal Competition Tribunal to throw out the case against credit card companies, allowing Visa and Master Card to charge businesses higher fees for their premium cards. The ruling upheld the restriction on retailers from imposing surcharges on customers who use those cards.

Becker said she will be encouraging fellow chamber chapters to press this issue when they meet at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s AGM Sept. 28 in Kelowna.

“Ultimately, these charges are going to be passed on to the consumer,” said Becker.

Locally, both Becker and Holland said the implementation of inter-municipal business licences by the Fraser Valley Chamber was a great example of how the local chapter has helped pave the way for local businesses to avoid costly red tape.

Holland, in a press release from the chamber, said they have been able to maintain strong relationships with its municipal partners in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, as well as its economic development offices and the local business improvement associations.

“We are all working towards the same goal, so it is imperative that we work together to achieve them,” he said.

Chamber moving

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce has found a new home.

The local chamber will set up shop starting Thursday, Aug. 15 at the former Pitt Meadows Economic Development Corporation office, located at 12492 Harris Rd.

Becker said a number of factors played into the decision, notably that the chamber had outgrown its current site at 22238 Lougheed Hwy. and upgrading the building didn’t make financial sense. With the lease expiring July 31, the chamber board decided finding a new home made more financial sense for its members, said Becker.

The local chamber has more than 450 members.

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