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2017 BC Provincial Budget Highlights- Cuts to MSP Premiums, More Money For Educaiton

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.)

All the details can be found here.

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.

The Education budget will increase by $740 million over three years, including $228 million to fund enrollment growth in British Columbia schools, funding for rural education enhancement, student transportation, K–12 salary costs, continued funding for the Learning Improvement Fund, and $320 million over three years while we work to conclude a final agreement with the BCTF 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, including funding to support government’s $100-million, three-year enhancement in services addressing mental health and substance use issues, particularly for youth
On Children and Families: An additional $796 million over three years to support families, individuals and children most in need.
Cutting PST on Electricity – The tax rate on electricity will be reduced to 3.5% from 7% , effective Oct. 1, 2017, and fully exempt effective April 1, 2019. Eliminating PST on electricity is estimated to save small- and medium-sized businesses about $50 million per year. Residential electricity is already exempt.
Cutting the small business corporate income tax rate to 2% from 2.5%.
Extending and enhancing sector tax credits for tech, Scientific Research and Experimental Development, venture capital to support innovation, commercialization, and the tech sector.
Investing a record $13.7 billion over three years in new and upgraded provincial taxpayer-supported infrastructure to support services and jobs.


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