Finance Minister Mike de Jong says B.C. may be the only province in Canada to balance its budget for the year ahead.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus funds low-income assistance

B.C. government ends child support clawback for welfare recipients, puts more money into Community Living B.C.

VICTORIA – Expecting budget surpluses for the next three years, the B.C. government is ending the deduction of spousal child support from social assistance payments and providing modest benefits for other low-income earners.

A target of single parents and poverty advocacy organizations in recent years, the “clawback” of child support payments ends Sept. 1. That is expected to leave about $32 million more over the next three years in the pockets of the parents who receive child support along with income assistance and disability payments, a benefit to 3,200 families and 5,400 children.

Community Living B.C., responsible for developmentally disabled adults, gets an additional $106 million over three years, and $20 million is added to the general budget for income assistance. Caseloads for both are expected to increase and individual payment rates stay the same.

This is also the budget that ends a two-year increase of 2.1 per cent in tax on income more than $150,000 a year. The provincial income tax rate for that tax bracket returns to 14.7 per cent, which de Jong said is part of the lowest personal income tax rates in the country.

At the low end of the income scale, the exemption from paying any personal income tax goes to the first $19,000 earned, up from $18,000.

An early childhood tax benefit begins April 1, with up to $660 a year for each child up to the age of six, designed to assist with child care costs.

This is also the year the province’s training and education savings grant begins to be paid out for children who reach six years old. It is a one-time payment of $1,200 born since Jan. 1, 2007, to be placed in a registered education savings plan.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the current fiscal year is expected to finish with a surplus of almost $900 million, due mainly to better than expected personal and corporate income tax revenues, strong retail sales and a one-time adjustment of federal tax payments.

After an additional $3 billion to the ever-growing health care budget and $576 million more for education over the next three years, the surplus for 2015-16 is projected to be $284 million.

VIDEO: Education funding increased for 2015-2018 budgets

Just Posted

Heinrich hired as CAO

Heinrich has been acting in the role since March 2017.

Power out, restored in some areas

While power is now on for some of the Boundary, as many as 2,000 may still be in the dark.

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

Freezing rain warning in effect for B.C. Southern Interior

Environment Canada issued the freezing rain warning for most of the Southern Interior Tuesday morning

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Former B.C. fire chief gets seven months for possession of child porn

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty during a brief hearing last year to one count

B.C. VIEWS: Public school ‘crisis’ doesn’t exist

More teachers pour in, union wants results suppressed

Most Read