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.
POOR B.C. PARENTS CAN KEEP CHILD-SUPPORT, BUT LITTLE ELSE IN BUDGET FOR FAMILIES
VICTORIA - B.C.'s latest budget will allow poor single parents to keep more money from social assistance, but otherwise there are few new measures that will directly benefit families in the province.
Finance Minister Mike de Jong's latest budget once again forgoes splashy spending announcements in favour of balancing the books.
One of the few new measures in the budget is a plan to end the practice of clawing back child-support payments from income-assistance calculations, which will cost the government $32 million over the next three years.
The budget also includes more than $100 million in additional funding for Community Living B.C. over three years, as well as an additional $20 million for income assistance, largely to address the growth in disability payments.
Parents who already claim recreation fees will automatically receive a tax credit for their children's fitness equipment, but that will only translate to a maximum benefit of $12.65 per child.
Health-care premiums are also increasing by four per cent on Jan. 1, 2016, meaning a single person will pay $3 more each month, for a total of $75, and families will pay an extra $6, or $150 per month.