British Columbia’s minority NDP government has released an update of its budget before a full budget is tabled in February. Here are some highlights:
— Carbon tax rate increased by $5 a tonne on April 1, 2018, as climate action tax credit increased for low- and middle-class families but the carbon tax will no longer be revenue neutral.
— $208 million for construction of 1,700 affordable rental housing units.
— $291 million for construction of 2,000 modular housing units for the homeless, with $170 million over three years for round-the-clock staff and support services.
— 50 per cent cut in Medical Services Plan premiums for all British Columbians as a step toward eliminating them over four years.
— Up to 3,500 new teachers; $681 million increase for kindergarten-to-Grade 12 education over three years.
— $100-per-month increase for income and disability assistance.
— $200-a-month increase to earnings exemptions for income and disability assistance recipients to connect to jobs.
— Reduction in small business corporate income tax rate to two per cent, from 2.5 per cent.
— $19 million for restoration of free adult basic education and English-language learning in both the kindergarten- to Grade 12 and post-secondary sectors.
— $15 million over three years for the Healthy Kids Program to provide hearing assistance benefits and improved rates for dental services.
— Personal income tax rate of 16.8 per cent on taxable income over $150,000, up from 14.7 per cent.
— Increase in corporate income tax to 12 per cent, from 11 per cent.
— $290 million for the Health Ministry and to establishment Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions in supporting prevention, early intervention and treatment involving illicit opioids and overdoses; $32 million for law enforcement and coroners’ service.
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