This week, the Government of British Columbia released the 2020 provincial budget, “A Stronger BC, For Everyone.” The strategic plan for Budget 2020 continues to focus on the government’s three core priorities:
- Making life more affordable
- Delivering the services
- Building a sustainable economy
To achieve these core priorities the Government of BC acknowledges that they must take bold action on climate change and investment in infrastructure.
To make life more affordable for all British Columbians the government is investing in:
- The Child Opportunity Benefit which includes a tax-free payment for families with children under 18;
- Removing the Medical Service Plan premiums;
- Affordable housing with more than $1 billion a year;
- Action on homelessness through the province’s first ever poverty reduction strategy;
- Implementing new earnings exemptions; and
- Transforming the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to increase care and treatment and reduce rates.
The Government of BC is investing in the delivery of services on which British Columbians depend by:
- Improving access to health care with more hospital, MRIs, surgeries;
- Increasing funding for education resulting in more teachers and new, safer schools;
- improving access to justice and support services by removing barriers and expanding services; and
- Improving the lives of children and youth by protecting and supporting children in government care.
The government is dedicated to building a sustainable economy that increases opportunities for everyone. Some actions being taken include:
- The release of the new BC access grant with up to $4,000 a year for post secondary students;
- Reconciliation with indigenous peoples and funding for on-reserve housing;
- Supporting BC’s forest sector;
- Improving response and recovery from wildfires and floods; and
- Investing in CleanBC with an additional $400 million to reduce pollution and build a cleaner future.
As part of building a sustainable economy, the 2020 budget includes a number of initiatives focused on infrastructure and municipal funding. This year’s budget contributes the largest investment in BC history in critical infrastructure – schools, hospitals, highways, and housing. The government is investing $7.4 billion for priority projects including bridge replacements, highway expansions, and corridor improvements. The government will also improve availability of capacity in the contingencies vote for accelerated payments to local government for infrastructure projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
A new Integrated Transportation and Development Planning (ITDP) process will be undertaken by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. This process will develop a collaborative vision for transportation and affordable development needs that contribute to an efficient and accessible multi-modal transportation network that connects communities, regions, and global markets. Beginning in the 2020 tax year, municipalities will have the flexibility to create a distinct municipal tax rate for designated port properties. When the municipal major industry tax rate is below the upper tax rate threshold municipalities can alter the tax rates for designated port properties.
Budget 2020 is focused on making life more affordable, enhancing the government services, and investing in a sustainable economy for everyone. These priorities are achieved with significant investments in climate action and provincial and municipal infrastructure.
Visit BC’s website for more details on the 2020 Budget.