B.C. Budget 2016: What You Need To Know

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Chad Hipolito/CP
Chad Hipolito/CP

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government tabled fourth consecutive surplus budget Tuesday.

Here are some highlights:

— A surplus budget of $264 million and a forecast allowance of $350 million, spending of $47.5 billion and revenues at $48 billion.

— A $100 million B.C. prosperity fund is created out of the 2015-16 budget surplus to be used to help eliminate the debt, invest in health care, education, transportation and family supports.

— Children will be exempt from paying the medical service premiums, a savings of up to $1,298 starting Jan. 1, 2017.

— Investment in new and upgraded infrastructure including $2.9 billion for health-care projects, $3.1 billion for transportation infrastructure, $2.5 billion for post-secondary facilities and $1.7 billion for maintenance and replacement for kindergarten to Grade 12 schools.

Health care spending is up by 3 per cent to 1.6 billion.

— B.C. Economic Forecast Council projects a provincial GDP growth of 2.7 per cent in 2016 and 2.6 per cent in 2017. The provincial government forecasts its growth at 2.4 per cent this year and 2.3 per cent next year.

B.C.'s economic growth is attracting people from other regions of the country with a net inflow of 6,315 people from other regions, one-third of those from Alberta.

mike de jong
B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong table's the provincial budget at the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. (Photo: Chad Hipolito/CP)

These are the winners and losers:

WINNERS — Starting Jan. 1, 2017, all children will be exempted from medical-service-plan premiums. Low income families, individuals and seniors will also benefit from lower premiums for those earning up to $51,000.

WINNERS — Those who buy newly-constructed houses and condominiums priced up to $750,000 are exempt from the property transfer tax.

WINNERS — Monthly disability income assistance rates go up by $77 per month, but that replaces monthly transportation subsidy for the one-third of those on disability who get the benefit.

WINNERS — Public-sector employees benefit from the improved economy by getting a dividend on wages of as much as $1,298 or .45 per cent that had been written into their last contract.

LOSERS — Another tax tier has been added to the property transfer tax. Those who buy property over $2 million will pay a three per cent tax on the cost above the $2 million threshold. The current tax of one per cent up to $200,00 and two per cent up to $2 million remains unchanged.

LOSERS —Government said it will work with the movie and TV industry to review the film tax credit as the lower Canadian dollar already offers a discount.

LOSERS — Someone who buys an older home under $750,000 still has to pay the transfer tax, unlike those who buy a newly built home.

LOSERS — With the exception of Quebec, all other provinces, territories and the federal government that aren't predicting a balanced budget.

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