The NDP’s second provincial budget released Tuesday didn’t hold too many surprises, focusing on affordability for families.
The 2019-20 financial plan includes an estimated surplus of $247 million, with future surpluses aimed as high as $585 million by 2022.
New B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit
The budget introduced a new benefit fund the government says will return nearly $400 million to families raising children, though it won’t take effect until October 2020.
For an eligible family with one child, the benefit is as high as $1,600 a year, increasing to $2,600 for two children and $3,400 for three children. Families will receive the benefit from the day their child is born until the child is 18 years old. Read more >
Income assistance boost
A person on income or disability assistance will receive an additional $50 more per month, totalling $760.
The government also announced a $15-million, three-year investment towards a new “homelessness action plan,” including 200 more modular housing units. Read more >
BC’s 2019 budget includes a new benefit that sees tax credits for families with children under 18 increase by up to 96 per cent. Yep – BC families with three children under 18 could receive up to $64,400 over their childhood. #BCpoli #BCBudget @BlackPressMedia @ashwadhwani
— Nina Grossman (@NinaGrossman) February 19, 2019
No more interest on student loans
Effective immediately, all B.C. student loans stop accumulating interest. This means upwards of $2,300 in savings over a 10-year period for someone with $28,000 in provincial and federal loans.
Big focus on health services
The province announced the largest infrastructure investment in B.C.’s history, with a portion of the $20 billion focused on health care. This includes $4.4 billion over three years to expand and upgrade equipment at hospitals and clinics, $30 million to continue fighting the opioid overdose crisis, and $42 million to expand the Fair PharmaCare program.
Carbon tax goes up
The tax is going up five dollars, to $40 per tonne. That will help fund the $107 million budgeted to cover B.C.’s point-of-sale rebates for zero-emission vehicles over the next three years.
CleanBC also moves ahead, offering incentives for clean energy use and conservation, with a $902-million investment. Read more >
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) February 19, 2019
Mores funds to fight wildfires
Wildfire suppression efforts, damages and evacuation orders cost nearly half a billion dollars last summer. The province has committed $111 million over three years.
Historic Indigenous revenue-sharing model announced
B.C. Lottery Corporation revenue will be shared with Indigenous communities, starting with $100 million a year over the next three years. Roughly 200 Indigenous communities will be eligible for grants between $250,000 and $2 million each year. Read more >
Ride hailing included in B.C. budget
About $9 million will be invested over three years to modernize the taxi industry and enable ride-hailing in B.C. – a commitment made by Premier John Horgan since campaigning for office. The money will be used to enhance vehicle compliance and enforcement while supporting the Passenger Transportation Board, the provincial regulator.