Economic Growth Means a Raise for Over 300K Unionized Workers
Victoria, B.C. – Provincial revenues are up and the debt is going down.
That’s the upshot from B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s second quarterly report from Victoria today.
The minister said revenues are forecast to increase by $372 million in 2016-17, compared to the first quarter forecast, primarily due to further improvements in personal income tax revenues driven by higher than anticipated household income last year.
However, that increase has been partly offset by a lower forecast for property transfer tax revenues.
Meanwhile, government spending is forecast to be $71 million higher than the first quarter forecast, including compensation increases for the Economic Stability Mandate dividend and higher emergency program flood-related costs.
De Jong said stronger than forecast economic growth of 3.3 per cent last year means about 310,000 unionized provincial public-sector employees covered by agreements settled under the government’s Economic Stability Mandate will receive an additional pay increase of 0.35 per cent starting in February.
By the end of 2016 taxpayers supported debt is forecast to be $2.1 billion lower than was forecast at budget and $1.6 billion less than last year.
De Jong attributes that due to the reduction in direct operating debt – money borrowed in the past to fund programs and services. The province’s taxpayer supported debt to GDP ratio is now projected to be 15.8 per cent.
“B.C. continues to outperform the country in economic growth, but with modest growth expected for next year,” said de Jong. “That means we must remain vigilant and continue to create a healthy economic profile, with a fiscal plan that balances spending with debt repayment and an economic strategy that diversifies our industries and export partners.”