I like it … or at least much of it … especially moves in the right direction in addressing the needs of more BC individuals/families economically in the middle income range.
And I say that …knowing full well that, among the NDP government’s first full budget, are a number of new programs/spending that won’t benefit me personally…
Like $1 Billion for expanded licensed day care; increased child care benefits up to $1,250 a month per child; funding to provide $350 a month cut in the cost of a child care space. It’s about time … and a necessary move .. as young parents struggle to raise families in BC’s inflated housing market.
And speaking of housing … the Budget also made a few good moves to try to get a grip on our housing crisis: raising the foreign homebuyers’ tax to $20,000; introducing a speculation tax; and; boosting the property transfer tax on homes worth over $3 million to five per cent from three. Flipping homes …or leaving them empty … hopefully won’t be as attractive anymore.
And, almost anticipating how off-shore speculator buyers will just buy up properties outside the Lower Mainland, the government is expanding the transfer tax to include homes in the Victoria-area, the Fraser Valley, the central Okanagan and the Nanaimo area. A good move for those hoping to get into that market without having to outbid so many foreign “investor” speculators.
Also drawing a lot of attention, a pledge to build 114,000 new housing units over a decade for families, seniors, and students. Not enough in my view … and realizing there is a limit to how much public money can be spent on this…I would have also liked to have seen new incentives …write-offs, tax rebates, expedited processing deals with municipalities … for the private sector to build more NEW rental units.
In the meantime, a lot of renters can’t wait: they’re hurting now … a two-year rent FREEZE could still be done outside the budget on OLD rental housing, since it would have no direct cost to the government and would make up for the overly generous rent increases landlords have been allowed to impose year after year for the paste decade.
Some renters will also see a $930 per year increase to the rental income assistance program…. but MOST don’t qualify … so where is that $400 renter rebate promised before last year’s election???? The government should have done better for renters suffering NOW.
And then there’s MSP.
Yes, the government cut MSDP premiums in half last month, BUT now says it won’t get rid of the remaining terribly unfair tax until 2020. That’s too long to wait … especially since the government plans to have employers pay a new health premium tax beginning in 2019.
Getting BOTH the public AND employers pay MSP in 2019 is double-dipping …a cash grab that adds literally insult to injury!
Businesses, of course, won’t like several provisions of this NDP Budget: especially companies that will have to pay BOTH Medical Services Plan premiums and the new payroll health tax simultaneously. I agree with them …. DOUBLE taxation for the same purpose IS excessive.
Add to that the fact that businesses also face an increase on the carbon tax to $35 per tonne and an increase to the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 … and the hints are already being heard: BC could again scare away jobs and industries … to Alberta or even Washington state!
And that would play right into the hands of Liberals … if the NDP’s ambitious spending plans fail; to come up with enough job growth and economic expansion to pay for it all.