Victoria– The pre-election budget has been announced by Provincial Finance Minister Mike De Jong. Wearing re-soled shoes and not new ones (new shoes are a tradition for Finance Ministers to wear when rising and delivering the budget). The Provincial Election is May 9. A new Postmedia poll states that the Liberals and the NDP are tied at 37% of the popular vote, the B.C. Greens at 17 per cent, and the B.C. Conservatives at 10 per cent. The Conservatives do not have a party leader at this time. (NOTE these numbers don’t add to 100 due to rounding.)
De Jong bragged about British Columbia’s fifth-consecutive balanced budget and continues with a AAA Credit Rating.
This year’s budget forecasts a surplus of $295-million. Note that the provincial debt is forecast to climb from $66.6-billion to $69.7-billion. By 2019, it’s expected to climb to $77.6-billion, driven by nearly $25-billion dollars worth of capital spending.
That spending includes the $8.7-billion Site C dam, and the $2.37-billion Massey Tunnel replacement project.
Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums will be cut in half for British Columbian’s with annual family net income up to $120,000, effective January 1, 2018. This is the first step a the Province begins the process of eliminating MSP premiums. The changes mean annual savings of up to $900 for families paying full premium and up to $450 for individuals. As a result, two million British Columbians will see thei premiums reduced by half, in addition to the two million British Columbians who already don’t pay premiums at all.