The province has released it’s 5th balanced budget.
New money appears to be available for classrooms, mental health services and other supports for families and kids.
One of the bigger parts is the 50% cut to MSP premiums starting January 1st 2018.
The education budget is supposed to go up by 740 million over three years.
The Ministry of Health will see a three year increase of 4.2 billion including funding to address mental health and substance use issues.
There’s an additional $796 million over three years to support families, individuals and children most in need, including:
o $287 million over the next three years to the Ministry of Children and Family Development
o $199 million to fund a $600 per year increase to income assistance rates for persons with disabilities.
o $175 million to provide income assistance supports for those in need
o $135 million over three years for community living services
Some changes will help support workers, jobs and the ability of businesses to compete internationally and remain resilient in a challenging global trade climate include:
o Eliminating PST on electricity over the coming two years
o Cutting the small business corporate income tax rate to 2% from 2.5%.
o Extending and enhancing sector tax credits for tech, Scientific Research and Experimental Development, venture capital to support innovation, commercialization and the tech sector.
o Investing a record $13.7 billion over three years in new and upgraded provincial taxpayer-supported infrastructure to support services and jobs.
The Association of Registered Nurses of BC is responding positively to the budget.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office says it’s a missed opportunity to address vital issues facing BC families like persistent poverty, unaffordable child care and the crises in seniors’ care.
The BC Federation of labour says the budget does nothing to invest in vital public services that have been cut over the past 16 years.
BCTF President Glen Hansman says the budget is an admission that this government has been shortchanging our schools and students for 15 long years.
Sierra Club BC say this budget offers 1950’s thinking in response to 2017’s challenges.
The Association for Mineral Exploration (“AME”) expresses its support of the balanced 2017 budget seeing a return to investor confidence for the mineral exploration industry.
BC Nurses Union president Gayle Duteil expected more funding for nursing staff required for mental health, senior’s care and all health care services and says the budget fails to address serious resource shortages.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC like the budget…especially the surpluses of 295 million for 2017, 244 for 2018 and 223 for 2019.
CUPE BC president Paul Faoro says the budget has only minor cosmetic changes and does very little to share the provinces economic prosperity.
Semi SUV Crash Lake Country
There were no injuries after a semi and suv got into it at Hwy 97 and Oceola Monday afternoon.
The SUV driver had done a u-turn in front of the tractor trailer unit.
The jaws of life had to used to get the driver out.
The 76 year old was was treated and released at the scene.
One witness said it was a miracle the driver was alive.