[SOUTH PEACE] British Columbia’s strong economy means more money back in the pockets of middle-class families in Dawson Creek, and investments in the programs and services people rely on most.
“Our strong and growing economy here in British Columbia has allowed us to give money back to British Columbians in a major tax cut,” said Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier. “It has also allowed us to make key investments in the areas that families rely on most.”
The centrepiece to Budget 2017 includes $1 billion in tax relief for middle-class families by cutting Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in half for individuals and families with a net income up to $120,000. This is the first step as the Province begins to eliminate MSP premiums. A typical family of four paying full MSP premiums will save $900 per year in 2018 as a result of this measure.
Budget 2017 also makes key investments in areas like classrooms, mental health services, and other supports for those most in need. The Government is also significantly increasing investment in healthcare – over $4.2 billion more over the next three years – to ensure British Columbians continue to receive the healthcare services they need.
Highlights that will benefit regions like the South Peace include:
- $2.6 billion in capital spending for new buildings and renewal of infrastructure at campuses across the province. This includes $71.2 million of capital investments on rural campuses that will include Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.
- $40 million in additional funding to extend high-speed internet access to rural and remote B.C. communities to support economic growth.
- $15.5 billion primarily for power generation and transmission capital projects by BC Hydro and for Columbia River power projects including construction of a dam and generating facilities at Site C on the Peace River and a 49 per cent share in the expansion of the Waneta Dam (a public-private partnership with Fortis Inc.)
- $9 million for rural education enhancement funding to mitigate against school closures in eligible areas.
- $25 million to continue the rural dividend program into 2019/20
- Budget 2017 provides an additional $159 million to maintain assistance levels for low-income families and seniors, to help make rent more affordable in private market rental units.
- $100 million more for mental health and substance use treatment, focusing on youth.
- $65 million to fund 380 housing units in support of the homeless across BC, including individuals with mental health and substance use issues.
- $45 million to eliminate the fees for school bus services.
- Firefighters and Search and Rescue volunteers tax credit, a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit providing a benefit up to $151.80 each year.
- $10 million for invasive plant management.
Additional highlights of the budget include:
- $796 million for children, families and those in need.
- $740 million for the K-12 education sector, including $320 million to address the recent interim agreement with teachers.
- More than $700 million for first-time homebuyers, building on $920 million for housing affordability and assistance.
- $249 million for communities and economic development.
- $149 million for parks and environmental protection.
- $280 million for other programs and services.
For more details on Budget 2017, visit: www.bcbudget.ca