Election Budget ‘Gives Back’
Prince George, B.C.- Finance Minister Mike de Jong has delivered his budget which is aimed at “giving back” to the taxpayers in B.C.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, MSP premiums will be cut in half for households with an annual net income of up to $120,000. Following this change, more than two million British Columbians will pay no premiums and a further two million will see a 50% reduction in their premiums . A typical family of four paying full premiums will save $900 per year in 2018. A single parent with net income up to $40,000 and two children will see their monthly premiums drop from $46 to $23. A family with net income less than $35,000 and two children will see their monthly premiums eliminated.
The Education budget will increase by $740 million over three years, including $228 million more to fund enrolment growth in B.C. schools, more than $9 million for rural education enhancement, student transportation, K-12 salary costs, continued funding for the Learning Improvement Fund, and an incremental $320 million over three years while government works to conclude a final agreement with the BC Teachers’ Federation on class size and composition.
The Ministry of Health will see a three-year increase of $4.2 billion, compared to its 2016-17 base budget.
An additional $796 million over three years to support families, individuals and children most in need, including:
- $287 million over the next three years to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, of which $120 million is to begin addressing recommendations of the Grand Chief Ed John Report on Indigenous Child Welfare.
- $199 million to fund a $600 per year increase to income assistance rates for persons with disabilities.
- $175 million to provide income assistance supports for those in need, including $8 million to exempt additional child-related benefits, expected to help 600 families and 1,000 children.
- $135 million over three years for community living services, primarily via Community Living BC.
There will also be a boost for housing:
- $920 million to support the creation of over 5,300 affordable housing units.
- As well, the threshold for the first-time homebuyers’ program will be increased to $500,000, saving first-time buyers up to $8,000 in property transfer tax on the purchase of their first home.
Eliminating PST on electricity over the coming two years – saving small, medium, large and industrial businesses throughout the province $164 million by 2019-20,
The small business corporate income tax rate will be trimmed to 2% from 2.5%.
The Province will $13.7 billion over three years in capital projects such as roads, hospitals and schools.
The budget predicts $50.8 billion in revenues and $50.2 billion in expenditures.
Some of the highlights of the budget have already been revealed such as the $50 increase in monthly disability payments, $29 million to school districts for school supplies, $140 million to improve mental health services, and $5 million to address the opioid crisis.