Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Budget Day to blaze the way to Election Day

Finance Minister Mike de Jong had
his shoes re-soled for today's Budget 

(from BC gov't website)
It's budget Day in Victoria, and for a change British Columbians probably won't have to keep a firm grip on their wallets or purses, as the Government shares the state of the provincial economy.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong has had his shoes re-soled for the occasion, a slight twist on the ancient tradition of a new pair of shoes for a new budget.

But don't let the idea of making do with an old pair of shoes fool you, the anticipation ahead is that with an election date looming in May, British Columbians will be seeing some spare cash freed up for their use.

Part of that theme was telegraphed, during a portion of the Government's Speech from the Throne address of last week.

During last Tuesday's address to the Legislature, Lt. Governor Judith Guichon hailed the sacrifice by all British Columbians through challenging times, adding that from that sacrifice the government was now in a position to pay you back, offering relief for some financial burdens and to allow for investment in households and our families.

Or in short, you'll be getting some money back ...

With the Speech from the Throne now part of the Liberal government narrative for 2017, it's time to spread out some funding and that has many in the province's political media offering a range of ideas as to where we'll see some financial relief.

From yesterday's political observations, the delivery of some common themes is expected when Mr. de Jong rises in the Legislature this afternoon to deliver the financial blue print ahead of the May vote.

With further investment in children and families one area that will be addressed, as well as indications that some taxation relief is on the way for British Columbians.

We may see some financial relief when it comes to MSP Premiums and some suggest that maybe ICBC will be tapped to provide some benefits back to motorists.

Education funding has already been announced ahead of the budget, beyond the required funding from the recent BCTF court victory, yesterday the province announced increased funding of 29.4 million for school supplies for parents of students attending public and private schools.

Some health funding has also been addressed prior to today's Budget Speech, with 140 million dollars to be delivered to improve access for key mental-health initiatives.

Also announced in the pre-budget run up was an increase for Disability Assistance, though the bump of fifty dollars was described by many advocates as an incredibly disappointing announcement.

The financial returns to the residents of the province will come from the 2.2 billion dollar surplus that is in place for the 2016-17 fiscal year, with the Finance Minister noting that similar returns are expected for 2017-18.

It's expected that Mr. de Jong will deliver his financial document to the Legislature at 1:30 this afternoon. You can sit in on the broadcast of his financial review from this video link.

Once the Budget has been delivered you can access the various elements of the financial plan from this link from the BC Government website.

Like a scouting report for a big game, you can get your pre-budget notes from some of the options offered below:

Finance Minister gets new soles ahead of budget release
5 things to expect in the 2017 B.C. Budget
B.C. finance minister hints a tax relief on eve of 2017 budget
B.C. budget: Victoria spends $140 million on mental health services
B.C. budget an opportunity to make carbon tax revenue neutral again
With election looming, Christmas in February has arrived
BC Government allocates about $50 per student for school supplies
B.C. public schools to get $29.4 million for supplies; NDP calls timing ironic
Equipment fund latest top-up for schools
We need a B.C. Budget that truly lifts all boats

More notes of interest from the BC Legislature can be found on our archive page here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review

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