This afternoon, Minister of Finance, Carole James, laid down the province’s budget plan for 2018, encompassing a variety of topics including child-care, housing, and a far-reaching investment plan.
Here’s a breakdown of the main points:
- $1 billion investment in a universal child care plan that will
- create over 22,000 child-care spaces throughout the province.
- reduce child-care costs by $1,250 per month for every child.
- directly give $350/month to licensed child-care providers.
- Building 114,000 affordable rental, non-profit, co-op and owner-purchase housing units across the province.
- Expanding the foreign buyers tax to Victoria, Nanaimo and Capital Regional Districts, the Fraser Valley and Kelowna, effective Wednesday
- Increasing the foreign buyers tax in Vancouver from 15% to 20%
- $375 million to preserve existing affordable housing, and to construct supportive housing units
- $450 million to fund 5,000 new student housing beds at public post-secondary institutions
- Elimination of Medical Services Plan (MSP) Premiums by 2020, made possible by the instatement of an employer health tax – businesses with payrolls less than $500,000 will not have to pay this tax
- B.C. Fair PharmaCare program will eliminate deductibles for families with annual net incomes below $30,000, starting Jan. 1, 2019.
- Freezing B.C. Ferries fares and reducing fares on non-major routes
- Investing $580 million over three years to improve senior health care, and $150 million to fund primary care for people who don’t have a family doctor
- $18 million to fund services for women and children affected by violence
- $50 million for the preservation and reinstatement of Indigenous languages, as an historic step towards reconciliation
- 2 cent per litre increase to gas tax, effective April 1st, 2018
“For too long, British Columbians have not been able to get the services that they need or afford to live in the communities in which they work or grew up in,” stated James.
“We are taking bold action to change that with Budget 2018 – a budget that works for everyone in B.C.”
She also noted that BC’s projected surplus for 2018-19 is $219 million, and will rise to $281 million in 2019-20 and $284 million in 2020-21.