Budget 2019

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Budget 2019 is about creating opportunities so that people can thrive.

It lifts people up so that everyone can meet their full potential.

We’re putting thousands of dollars back in people’s pockets with the biggest middle class tax cut in a generation.

We are making life better for all British Columbians.

We are taking a different approach. We’re putting people first.

We’re tackling the big problems in B.C. while balancing the budget and continuing to build on the strongest economy in the country.

We are investing in people to build a strong economy for today and tomorrow, creating a foundation on which everyone – not just the few at the top – can thrive.

Our plan is working. B.C. has the strongest economy in the country with the strongest GDP and wage growth, and lowest unemployment.

Budget 2019 puts people first.

We are taking action to make life more affordable, to deliver the services people need, and to build a strong, sustainable economy.

Budget 2019 moves forward on the biggest middle-class tax cut in a generation – putting thousands of dollars back in people’s pockets.

We’re creating new opportunities so that people and business can thrive, by:

Creating the new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit so that all kids have the opportunity to meet their full potential

Eliminating interest on B.C. student loans, so young people get a good start in their lives and careers, interest free

Fully eliminating MSP Premiums starting January 1, 2020, saving families up to $1,800 a year

Sharing stable, long-term funding with First Nations communities, so they can fund their priorities from services and housing to self-government and economic development.

Moving forward with CleanBC – the largest investment in climate action in B.C. history.

Along with the new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit and the full elimination of MSP premiums, we are putting thousands of dollars back into people’s pockets.

The net result? A family of four making $80,000 will be paying 43% less a year in taxes than they did under the last government.

It’s good for people, it’s good for our communities, and it’s good for our economy.

Making Life More Affordable

Budget 2019 is about creating opportunities so that everyone can thrive.

We’re putting people first. By investing in people, we’re building a strong economy for today and tomorrow.

Our government is investing nearly a billion dollars in Budget 2019 to lay the groundwork to make sure every person can reach their full potential.

Budget 2019 significantly reduces the tax burden for working and middle-class families – the biggest middle class tax cut in a generation.

B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit

To make sure every child has the opportunity to thrive Budget 2019 introduces the new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit.

The benefit gives support to families for every child they have up to the age of 18.

For the first child, the benefit is as high as $1,600 a year, for a family with two children the benefit is as much as $2,600, and for three children it is as much as $3,400.

Over the course of a child’s upbringing, families with one child will receive as much as $28,800. For families with two children, that number can exceed $40,000 in support.

In total, the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit will put nearly $400 million a year back into the pockets of hardworking families.

And we’re ensuring that support is focused on those who need it most – from middle class British Columbians to those living in poverty.

The Child Opportunity Benefit is a historic investment that puts more dollars in the pockets of middle class families.

B.C. Student Loan Interest Eliminated

Our government is delivering on our commitment to eliminate interest from all new and existing British Columbia student loans.

As of Feb. 19, 2019, all B.C. student loans will stop accumulating interest.

Students and young families with loans will save an average of $2,300 in interest charges over a 10-year repayment period.

Instead of worrying about growing debt, young people will be able to focus on learning, and graduates will be able to put their energy into their next steps in life.

Eliminating MSP Premiums

We are fully eliminating MSP premiums on January 1, 2020, saving families as much as $1,800 a year.

At $2.7 billion, this one of the largest tax cuts for people in B.C.’s history, and it was long overdue.

Income Assistance and Disability Rates

Our government has already increased income assistance rates by $100 a month.

Budget 2019 increases income and disability assistance rates by an additional $50 per month, bringing the total increase to $150 a month or $1,800 a year.

This means more money for groceries, transportation and life’s basic necessities.

We are also investing an additional $26 million in income and disability assistance enhancements to make these benefits fairer and respect people’s dignity.

Investing in Caregivers

Budget 2019 addresses serious inequities when it comes to caring for some of the most vulnerable people in B.C.

We are investing in care and caregivers to help those who need it most to live a better life.

Community Living BC homeshare providers will see the first increase to their compensation since 2009.

Family-based caregivers, like foster parents, will receive higher support payments starting April 1, the first increase in a decade.

Extended family, like grandparents and aunties, who support children and keep them out of care, will finally have their payments equal to foster parents.

Housing and Homelessness

For the first time in B.C. history, the province will be funding local organizations to operate rent banks that will provide short-term, low or no interest loans so that renters don’t end up on the street because of a crisis.

We are moving forward on a homelessness action plan with a $76-million investment that will support land acquisition and services to bring the number of modular homes for people who need them to 2,200.

Our Homes for B.C. plan introduced last year is already showing results. The housing market has begun to moderate across all segments and 17,000 additional homes have already been built or are under construction.

Legal Clinics

The inability to access affordable legal services can mean unfair treatment in the workplace or the inability to escape domestic abuse. That isn’t right.

That’s why we are piloting a new network of legal clinics to ensure that B.C.’s most vulnerable citizens have equal access to justice.

We want to help people access the legal services they need.

Delivering Better Services

Our province’s success comes from the hard work of people who call B.C. home.

Health Care

We’re moving forward with investments in our health care system to deliver better, faster medical care to people.

Budget 2019 provides more than $1.3 billion over three years to the Ministry of Health to offer more hours of direct care and support the health services that people depend on.

This investment includes funding:

To provide for new drugs to be covered under PharmaCare;

For the BC Cancer Agency, increasing the number of cancer-related surgeries, diagnostic imaging, expanding PET and CT scans and increased chemotherapy demands; and

To supports the BC Children’s and Women’s hospitals to provide services for women, children, newborns and families.

We are investing $4.4 billion over three years to expand and upgrade hospitals, medical and diagnostic equipment and health information management systems to give patients the quality care they deserve.

More direct care hours mean British Columbians get the care and support they need with their first visit instead of being left in hallways and waiting rooms.

PharmaCare

For too many people, the price of prescription medication is too much.

We have already eliminated Fair PharmaCare deductibles for people with low incomes in the province.

In Budget 2019, we are taking the next step by investing an additional $42 million to expand the drugs covered by Fair PharmaCare.

This will help people access the medications they need, including people living with diabetes, asthma and hypertension.

Mental Health

It’s time B.C. had a child and youth mental health system where families can ask once and get help fast.

Budget 2019 starts to build that system with a $74 million investment in a child and youth mental health strategy, including:

More Foundry centres for youth 12-24 to bring integrated services under one roof.

More programs, including in schools, for parents and families to support kids’ early years development.

More specialized family care and day treatment for young people that meets their needs.

This is part of our government’s work to improve the mental health services people count on.

Education

Our children deserve a good education in safe, supportive classrooms.

Budget 2019 invests over half a billion dollars to ensure that our schools deliver the quality of education British Columbians expect for their children.

This includes $58 million over three years for the Classroom Enhancement Fund to support better classrooms for our kids.

We’ve invested almost a billion dollars into new schools, additions, seismic upgrades and property purchases – the largest capital investment in B.C.’s history.

We are also making record investments to achieve smaller class sizes; improve schools and classrooms; and give kids more support.

Strong, Sustainable Economy

B.C. has the strongest economy in Canada with the highest wage growth in a decade.

Our economic success should benefit the people who make our economy work.

That’s why our government is choosing to invest in people while balancing the budget.

By ensuring everyone has opportunities to succeed we are supporting a strong, sustainable economy.

Strong Economy

Our plan is working and, as a result, British Columbia has the strongest economy in the country.

British Columbia’s economy is thriving. B.C.’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.5% this year and 2.6% next year, leading all of Canada.

Wages grew up by 4.1% last year, the highest rate of wage growth.

B.C. continues to lead the country with a 4.7% unemployment rate.

Budget 2019 is balanced with a projected surplus of $274 million in 2019/20.

Key fiscal facts:

Our debt-to-GDP ratio is at its lowest level since before the financial crisis.

We are the only province with a triple-A credit rating from all three major international rating agencies.

We have eliminated the operating debt for the first time in 40 years.

We are investing $20 billion in infrastructure in communities throughout the province – the largest capital plan in B.C.’s history.

The construction of these schools, roads, health care facilities and post-secondary institutions will support over 80,000 jobs during construction over the next three years. 

CleanBC

Our climate action plan puts B.C. on the path to a cleaner, better future.

Budget 2019 invests $902 million in CleanBC, the largest investment in climate action in B.C.’s history. This includes:

$90 million to make electric vehicles more affordable, putting up to $6,000 in any British Columbian’s pocket who buys an electric car.

$41 million investment in incentives that will save families hundreds of dollars a year with clean energy retrofits for their homes.

$15 million this year to support remote communities in transitioning to clean energy solutions.

We are reducing climate pollution by shifting homes, vehicles and businesses away from fossil fuels, towards clean B.C. electricity and other sources of renewable energy.

We are also increasing climate rebates for working and middle-class British Columbians.

This means families will receive rebates of up to $400 per year.

With CleanBC, we are building a strong, sustainable, low-carbon economy for the future.

Revenue Sharing with First Nations

Budget 2019 introduces the most substantial revenue sharing agreement with First Nations in B.C.’s history.

This commitment means over $3 billion in provincial gaming revenue will go to First Nations communities over the next 25 years, including nearly $300 million in the next 3 years.

First Nations will now have stable, long-term funding for their communities.

With these funds First Nations will be able to invest in services and infrastructure for their communities —like child care, supports for new parents, housing, road upgrades and economic development.

It’s the right thing to do on the path to reconciliation.

Because B.C. thrives when everyone gets the opportunity to succeed.

Supporting Business

We’re working to create opportunities so that business and people can thrive.

Through Budget 2019, British Columbia is providing $800 million in tax reductions for businesses investing in equipment and machinery in B.C. in partnership with efforts by the Government of Canada.

We’ve cut the small business corporate income tax rate by 20% – from 2.5% to 2% – making it the second lowest small business rate in Canada.

As of April 1, 2019, we are fully eliminating the PST on non-residential electricity.

LNG Development

Our government has facilitated the largest private-sector investment in Canadian history – a liquified natural gas project worth $40 billion, of which $24 billion will be spent here in B.C.

This is a critical investment in our resource-based communities who, for too long, saw their sectors neglected.

The project creates opportunities for British Columbians and their children in the communities they call home.

This includes 10,000 more construction jobs and 950 permanent jobs for people in B.C.