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February 21, 2017

What Balanced Budget 2017 Means For You

 

Reducing taxes. Strengthening our economy. And investing in the services British Columbians rely on.

Those are the themes of Budget 2017 introduced today by Finance Minister Mike de Jong – the fifth our BC Liberal government has balanced in a row. That puts us in an exclusive club here in Canada – along with the country’s only triple-A credit rating, and an economy that’s leading the way in job creation, employment, and economic growth.

From all of this, it’s clear that our plan is working – and your hard work is paying off. Here’s what you need to know coming out of Budget 2017:

1. BC is cutting MSP premiums in half – the first step towards eliminating them completely.

Effective January 1, 2018, British Columbians with net family income up to $120,000 will see their premiums reduced 50%. This will save BC families an average of $900 per year, and $450 per year for an individual – which amounts to dance lessons, hockey practice, or even a little vacation. This MSP cut benefits 2 million British Columbians, on top of the 2 million who currently pay no MSP at all – and we’re working towards eliminating premiums entirely.

2. Government is scrapping PST on electricity for businesses and schools to help our job creators invest more of their resources in people, instead of taxes.

The PST tax rate on electricity will be cut in half to 3.5% effective October 2017, and eliminated completely by April 2019 – saving small- and medium-sized businesses about $50 million per year. Residential customers are already exempt from PST on their power bills.

3. We’re also lowering taxes on small business. The small business corporate income tax rate will be reduced from 2.5% to 2%, giving B.C. the second lowest rate in the country.

4. Because we’ve been controlling spending, our government is able to invest in the public services we all depend on. Budget 2017 includes:

  • Record high investments in health care, including $100 million in new funding for mental health and substance use services.
  • A further boost to K-12 education funding of $740 million over three years.
  • Further investments in affordable housing and services for children and families.
  • $13.7 billion in infrastructure investments for transportation, education, health, and housing – supporting more than 30,000 jobs.

5. The direct operating debt – money borrowed to pay for our programs and services – remains on track to be eliminated in four years – for the first time in forty years.

The debt reduction will save BC an estimated $500 million in interest payments – enough to pay for a new hospital.

As BC Liberals, we believe that when government has more money than it needs, it should be returned to the people who earned it in the first place – regular British Columbians like you and me. Because let’s face it: you should make the decisions on how to spend your money, not government.

The opposition – both the NDP and Greens – disagree with that. Their agendas would lead to higher taxes, investment fleeing our province, and British Columbians out of work. In the face of rising protectionism, low commodity prices, and global uncertainty, that’s a risk we just can’t take.

So with just 77 days until our next election, remember that the choice on May 9 is clear: we can either grow the economy and keep more of our hard-earned money with the BC Liberals, or pay more to fund bigger government while our jobs and economy suffer.

I know what British Columbia I want to live in – and it’s one we’re going to have to fight for each and every day for the next 11 weeks. You can join that fight now by sharing the content below with your friends and family to help us spread the word.

We’ve come too far to stop now. Let’s keep building a brighter future, together.

 

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By Jillian Stead