[VANCOUVER] British Columbia’s strong economy means more money back in the pockets of middle-class families in Vancouver, and investments in the programs and services people rely on most.
“B.C.’s 5th consecutive balanced budget makes very key investments in education, supports for people with disabilities, and health, including the construction of the new 100-bed Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre,” said Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan. “All of these improvements are made possible because have stuck to our plan and listened to the concerns of our local community.”
“I am thrilled to be able to say, starting January 1st, 2018 we are cutting MSP premiums in half for millions of British Columbians and we are on our way to eliminating them completely,” Vancouver-Fraserview MLA Suzanne Anton. “This is major tax relief for British Columbians – up to $900 a year.”
“As a result of managing our priorities and finances properly, B.C.’s 2017 balanced budget has a lot to offer for British Columbians,” Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson. “We are now able to make key investments in programs and services that British Columbians rely on, and put money back in the pockets of families.”
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.
Regional highlights that will benefit communities like Vancouver include:
- A three year total of $14 million to the Ministry of Advanced Education for increased operating funding for the Emily Carr University of Arts and Design that is scheduled to open its new Vancouver campus at Greater Northern Way in September 2017.
- Capital investment for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the redevelopment of Children’s and Women’s Hospital. This includes the new Teck Acute Care Centre and the relocation of the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and the expansion of Single Room Maternity Care by 10 beds.
- Capital investment for the construction of the new 100-bed Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre to replace and consolidate specialized mental health services at Vancouver General Hospital.
- $57 million (plus leasing costs) for material handling equipment, racking and coveyors as well as a new computerized warehouse management system for the Liquor Distribution Branch’s new Vancouver Distribution Centre warehouse.
- 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. Services are also maintained for the homeless in the existing permanent shelter system.
- $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.
- $6 million over three years to support the Buy Local program to support the continued growth of local demand for B.C. agrifoods.
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