British Columbia’s finance minister has hinted that anyone looking for surprises in today’s budget update will likely be disappointed.
Carole James says the first financial blueprint put forward by the New Democrat government will outline commitments that were made on the election campaign last spring and reiterated in Friday’s throne speech, which kicked off the latest legislative session.
The speech promised increases in welfare and disability rates, the elimination of tolls on two bridges in the Lower Mainland, and funding for education to comply with a Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the size and composition of B.C. classrooms.
Premier John Horgan and the NDP promised a number of costly initiatives on the campaign trail, such as $10-a-day daycare, investments in public transit and expanded health-care infrastructure, including new hospitals and patient care centres.
Today’s budget update will mark the first time Horgan’s government has put forward a financial plan, and James has downplayed the announcement, saying September is when most governments begin work on full budgets that are presented in February.
Public accounts figures released in late August indicate the province finished off the past fiscal year with a $2.7-billion surplus.
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