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 >
Details to come on #CleanBC $900M, but overall #BCBudget2019 shows #BCGreens influence says @AJWVictoriaBC #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/kVOGq5Jtai
— 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.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.