VICTORIA â€” Highlights of British Columbia’s 2017-18 budget released Tuesday:
â€” A forecast surplus of $295 million, a fifth consecutive balanced budget with projections to remain in the black for the next two years, with a $223 million surplus in 2019-20.
â€” A previous forecast surplus of $2.2 billion for 2016-17 has been revised to about $1.5 billion in the budget, mostly because of new spending on housing, forest fire prevention measures and infrastructure.
â€” The government will spend $50.2 billion in the next fiscal year.
â€” Medical Service Premiums will be cut starting Jan. 1, 2018, by 50 per cent for households with annual net income up to $120,000, leaving a typical family of four paying $900 a year less next year.
â€” The Ministry of Children and Family Development will get an additional $287 million over three years, including $120 million to address recommendations in a report on indigenous child welfare, after the death of children in government care.
â€” Education spending will increase by $740 million over three years, with $320 million of that total to cover the costs of ongoing negotiations with the teachers’ union after the province lost a Supreme Court of Canada decision on class size related to special-needs children.
â€” Provincial sales tax on electricity for business will be eliminated over the next two years, saving $164 million by 2019-20.
â€” The small business corporate income tax rate will be reduced to two per cent from 2.5 per cent.
â€” An increase in the threshold in the first-time homebuyers program to $500,000, which the government estimates will save up to $8,000 in property transfer tax for people buying their first home.
The Canadian Press