Green factor explains disappearance of big-ticket promises in BC budget: James

Green factor explains disappearance of big-ticket promises in BC budget: James

The first throne speech of the NDP government in B.C.is a transitional roadmap that steers the province toward a progressive future, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).

For Kyllo, a major concern is the NDP's decision to scrap the requirement that the carbon tax to be revenue-neutral.

The proposed increase would rise to 16.8 per cent a year from 14.7.

Finance Minister Carole James said in a budget update Monday that the low-income carbon tax credit is also being increased 17 per cent, with maximum annual amounts going up to $135 per adult and $40 per child.

She said the government will spend $208 million to build 1,700 affordable rental housing units and $291 million to build 2,000 modular housing units for homeless people. 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.

James outlined B.C.'s continued strong economic performance, much of it driven by booming construction and taxes from increasing employment in urban areas.

There will be a 50 per cent cut in Medical Services Plan premiums, with a goal of eliminating premiums over four years. The previous Liberal government had pledged to cut premiums by 50 per cent for families earning less than $120,000, but James said that plan was "unworkable" and that it was easier to cut the fees across the board.

"I am a big believer that a budget does not stand alone", she said.

James acknowledged the government's plan for a universal, $10-a-day child-care program and its promised $400 subsidy for renters are now in planning stages and may be more fully addressed in the government's budget this February.

But she said the government didn't have time to act on all its promises given the delay in the transfer of power from the Liberals to the NDP following a confidence vote in June. "We've made some immediate investments while we work toward our first full budget in February". He said the move shows the NDP is willing to work on the issues with the Greens, who favour a different approach on both issues.

The New Democrats are also bumping up corporate income tax from 11 per cent to 12 per cent.

The small business tax rate goes down a half point to two per cent, and the NDP government is going ahead with a B.C. Liberal promise to remove provincial sales tax from business electricity bills. PST is not charged on residential electricity bills, and B.C.is one of few places where the tax applies to business bills.

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