April 17th, 2024

CP NewsAlert: B.C. election budget boosts family benefits as deficit soars to $7.9 B

By The Canadian Press on February 22, 2024.

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy answers questions from reporters following a photo opportunity at the Fernwood Community Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, February 21, 2024. Conroy says increasing the deficit in today's provincial budget is the right path to take in order to allow the government to provide needed services to people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VICTORIA – Families and small businesses in British Columbia will benefit from an election-year budget that boosts spending, while forecasting a ballooning deficit of $7.9 billion and economic growth that falls below one per cent.

The budget delivered by Finance Minister Katrine Conroy also includes a flipping tax on housing to deter short-term market speculators.

Conroy says B.C. is an economic leader in Canada but a slowing economy and increasing housing and grocery costs mean people are stretched and need help.

She says the budget includes a one-year boost to the B.C. Family Benefit giving eligible low-and-middle-income families an extra $445 over a year on average, as well as a one-time electricity credit saving households an average of $100.

Conroy says increasing the payroll threshold for the Employer Health Tax means an estimated 90 per cent of businesses will now be exempt.

She also says one cycle of free in-vitro fertilization will be provided to anyone who wants to start a family, regardless of income, “who they love, or whether they have a partner.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024

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