(VICTORIA) BC’s new government has made a strong start in addressing crucial issues for British Columbians in its first budget update, which is a welcome change in direction from the last 16 years, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC Office.
“Investments in affordable housing, including 2,000 new units for people who are homeless, as well as new funding for the Residential Tenancy Branch is very good news,” said Senior Economist Iglika Ivanova.
BC has one of the highest poverty rates in Canada. Priority investment in programs for the most vulnerable – people who are homeless and seniors, for renters, for the public education system and for the fentanyl emergency is essential and heartening,” said Public Policy Analyst Alex Hemingway.
“With a strongly performing economy and moves towards greater tax fairness, the government will be able to make investments in services that people rely on,” he said.
Increases in the corporate income tax rate and in the personal rate on taxable income over $150,000 will improve tax fairness and generate funds for much-needed investments in education, social programs like poverty reduction and child care and in health care and affordable rental housing, said Ivanova.
“The initial funding to develop a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy, including a basic income pilot program, is very welcome news. BC is the only province without such a strategy and it is long overdue,”she added.
While $20 million has been earmarked for new child care spaces, Ivanova said she will be looking to the full budget in February 2018 for a much more ambitious investment to begin implementing the $10/day child care plan, which she has fully costed.
Increasing the carbon tax rate in April 2018 and increasing rebates for low and middle income earners are important steps in BC’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.
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