Firefighters get a hand in BC budget

Firefighters get a hand in BC budget”

But the NDP also repurposed the previous Liberal government's pre-election spending promises on the child welfare system ($147 million), creating 2,000 new child care spaces ($20 million) and opening more than 5,000 new spaces in Surrey schools, re-announcing the funds as if they were NDP proposals.

"We felt that the cleanest, straightforward direction was to have no requirement to apply", James said.

The B.C. New Democrats have delivered their first budget update since taking office.

"I've said all along we're not going to be able to do everything overnight", said James. Even with $1.8 billion in additional ministry spending over the next three years, the budget forecasts surpluses of more than $200 million each year.

That compares to a $295 million surplus projected by the Liberals in their February 21, 2017/18 budget.

Finance Minister Carole James said the new government is also allocating resources for the upcoming poverty reduction plan.

The minister says the budget includes tax measures that lowers corporate income tax rate for small business to two per cent from 2.5 per cent, but increases the general corporate tax rate to 12 per cent from 11 per cent. The cost is estimated at $472 million over three years to increase the rate for 190,000 people, bringing the monthly rate up to $710 for a single employable person and $1,133 per month for someone on disability assistance.

One key difference from the B.C. Liberals is that the tax will no longer be revenue neutral, which means the money will now go towards green initiatives.

The first budget update from the new BC NDP government shows for the first time in 16 years that government can be a force for positive, progressive changes that will make life more affordable for working families and ensure all British Columbians have an opportunity to benefit from economic growth, CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Trevor Davies said today.

"We're also pleased to see increased funding for post-secondary education institutions, and the investment of $19 million to restore free Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning".

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