POLITICS

Highlights from B.C.'s 2015-2016 provincial budget

02/17/2015 05:03 EST | Updated 04/19/2015 05:59 EDT
VICTORIA - Highlights from the British Columbia budget tabled Tuesday:

— Surpluses are forecast for the next three years: $284 million in 2015-2016; $376 million in 2016-2017; and $399 million in 2017-2018.

— The projected surplus for 2014-2015 is now $879 million, significantly higher than the $184-million surplus projected a year ago.

— B.C.'s economy is expected to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2015; 2.4 per cent in 2016; and 2.3 per cent in 2017.

— The budget includes no revenues from the liquefied natural gas industry, which B.C. Premier Christy Clark has promised will one day bring in billions of dollars.

— Declining natural gas prices are expected to cause royalties to fall by 36.5 per cent in 2015-2016, leaving the province with $344 million from the sector compared with $542 million in the current year.

— The province expects to end 2015-2016 with $66 billion in debt, growing to more than $70 billion by 2018.

— Child-support payments will no longer be factored into social-assistance calculations at a cost of $32 million for the next three years.

— Parents can claim $250 under a new children's fitness equipment tax credit, which translates to a maximum benefit of $12.65 per child.

— Teachers who participate in extracurricular coaching can claim a tax credit that will be worth $25 per year.

— Health-care premiums will increase by four per cent on Jan 1, 2016. Monthly rates for a single person will increase by $3 to $75 per month, while families will pay an extra $6 per month for a total of $150.