The BC government has cancelled its planned 4% increase of MSP health care premiums, after revealing higher revenues than expected in its budget update on Thursday.
The province says the decision will save adults up to $36 per year. People on low incomes, eligible for Regular Premium Assistance, will also pay 4% less than planned.
In his quarterly budget update, BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong forecast revenues of $50.5 billion for 2016-17, $2.4 billion higher than projected in Budget 2016.
That represents a rise in revenue of almost $2.5 billion in 2016-17, compared with the previous year.
“Better revenues primarily reflect our province’s strong economy, with more people working and a robust housing market,” said de Jong.
Indeed. Given Vancouver’s spectacularly hot housing market, it should be no surprise that property transfer tax is forecast to increase $965 million, to $2.2 billion.
Overall, De Jong is forecasting a surplus of $1.9 billion for 2016-17, which notably includes an estimated $165 million set to be raked in from the new 15% foreign buyers’ tax.
Here are some of the other key points of the budget update, according to the BC government:
- Personal income tax is forecast to rise by $1.1 billion in 2016/2017
- Taxpayer-supported debt for 2016-17 is expected to be $1.3 billion lower than forecast
- Money borrowed to fund programs and services is expected to be $1.4 billion lower than forecast and on track to be fully eliminated by 2019-20
- Year to date, there’s been a 3.3% rise in employment activity, about 74,600 more jobs
- BC’s real GDP is forecast to grow by 2.7% in 2016, 0.3% higher than forecast
- Government is set to invest $500 million in new housing initiatives
To read the full Quarterly Budget Update presentation, go here: news.gov.bc.ca.