British Columbia’s minority New Democrat government is embarking on a social spending program in a budget update that includes hiring 3,500 teachers, and building 1,700 affordable rental units and 2,000 homes for the homeless.
Finance Minister Carole James says her government’s budget aims to make life more affordable for residents while setting the course for a strong economy that works for all and not just the few.
The budget update forecasts a surplus of $246 million this year and economic growth of 2.9 per cent, up from the 2.1 per cent projected in last February’s budget.
James says the housing initiatives in the update, including $208 million for affordable rental spaces and $291 million for the homes for the homeless, are the first steps in a long-term housing plan that will be detailed in the February budget.
The minister says the budget includes tax measures that lowers corporate income tax rate for small business to two per cent from 2.5 per cent, but increases the general corporate tax rate to 12 per cent from 11 per cent.
James says the government is making good on its election promises to cut medical services plan premiums by 50 per cent on Jan. 1 and increase income and disability rates by $100 a month.
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