Victoria, B.C. – March 1, 2018 – While details of the 2018 Federal Budget are still filtering in – and we’ll review those in our next blog – let’s first look at the recently released B.C. NDP budget and the ways in which it will help everyday British Columbians.
Even though they only have a slim minority government, the B.C. NDP’s first budget begins to fulfil the party’s campaign pledge to make life more affordable.
The NDP government has introduced a fiscal plan that address the needs of British Columbians rather than the interests of corporations and the development community – the two main beneficiaries of successive Liberal budgets under former premier Christy Clark. This is mainly because the B.C. New Democrats campaigned on a platform aimed at making life more affordable. And thankfully, they have delivered.
The New Democrats have started to work towards an affordable child care system by investing over $1 billion in a new child care benefit aimed at reducing child care costs. The budget also provides funding for over 22,000 new child care spaces across the province.
As well, the budget introduces a 30-point plan for housing affordability that includes the construction of 114,00 new housing units, increasing the foreign buyers tax and property transfer tax, taxing speculation, cracking down on tax fraud and loopholes, and investing over $6 billion in affordable housing over ten years.
Ferry rates have also been frozen on major routes while senior’s discounts have been restored. In addition, the budget eliminates the Medical Services Premium (MSP) by January 1, 2020, replacing it with a new employer tax that is designed to protect small businesses.
Over $1.5 billion is being invested in health care, including $548 million to provide improved care for seniors. There is also $409 million to hire 3,700 more teachers and support enrolment growth in public schools.
Finally, the budget outlines record levels of capital investment in schools, housing, health care facilities, and transportation infrastructure – demonstrating that the New Democrats are committed to achieving shared prosperity by investing in workers and their families.
These are just some of the measures that will help make life more affordable for British Columbians. In stark contrast to previous Liberal budgets, the B.C. NDP budget moves away from offering handouts to the wealthy and large corporations and instead provides major investments in people who genuinely need help.