British Columbia NDP Budget Update 2017

The 2017 Budget update is the first glimpse of the economic agenda of the province’s new minority NDP government after 16 years of Liberal administrations. On Friday September 1, the NDP delivered its first Speech from the Throne, promising to begin work on a province wide, universal child-care program, a poverty-reduction plan and a climate-action strategy that creates new green jobs. Today’s budget just touches on the surface of those initiatives.

Highlights:

– Expenditures get a boost with more money spent on priority areas such as education, social assistance,
housing and the elimination of bridge tolls.
– A strong provincial economy lays a solid foundation for this spending to occur.
– Targeted tax increases (personal income tax rate for higher-income individuals, general corporate income tax
rate, carbon tax) further support the government spending plan.
– There are some targeted tax cuts (Medical Services Plan premiums, reduction of small business corporate income
tax rate).
– The province’s taxpayer-supported debt is revised slightly higher by $1.4 billion this year to $44.9 billion due
to a one-time adjustment. As a share of GDP, taxpayer-supported debt is expected to be 16.2% at the end of
FY17/18, still one of the lower ratios among the provinces.

The bottom line is that little has changed relative to the February 2017 budget. Small surpluses are projected throughout the three-year fiscal plan: $246 million in FY17/18, $228 million in FY18/19 and $257 million in FY19/20.

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