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12 highlights: Here's a quick summary of B.C.'s 2020-21 budget
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2020 1:48PM PST Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:18AM PST
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s 2020 budget was released Tuesday, promising new funding for post-secondary students, investments in climate action and housing supports for the province's most vulnerable residents.
New sources of revenue were also announced, including a tax on sodas and a new tax bracket targeting the province's top one per cent of earners.
For those looking for a quick snapshot of the province's budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, here are some of the highlights.
1. The province projects a surplus of $203 million for the 2019-21 fiscal year.
2. Around 10,400 new licensed childcare spaces have been created over the past two years and 28,000 kids received care that cost less than $10 per day.
3. The new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit will be implemented this year. Some families with children under 18 could get up to $1,600 per year, those with two kids could get up to $2,600 and those with three could get up to $3,400.
4. A new grant for students was announced, the B.C. Access Grant, for low and middle income post-secondary students, up to $4,000.
5. There's no mention in the budget of the $400 renters' rebate promised three years ago, but 500 new shelter spaces will be created and investments are being made in modular housing.
6. ICBC is expected to lose an estimated $91 million in the current fiscal year. For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, however, the province projects a surplus of $86 million for the Crown corporation.
7. An additional $65 million in funding is being allotted to help B.C. prepare for, respond to and recover from wildfires, floods and other climate-related emergencies.
8. Provincial sales tax is being added to sweetened, carbonated drinks, a charge that will also apply to vending machines and soda fountains.
9. There is a new tax bracket for the top one per cent of earners, those who make over $220,000 a year.
10. A tax of 29.5 cents on new "heated tobacco products" that are not commonly yet used will take effect in April. Though the government said the devices "produce a vapour for inhalation," they are apparently different from the vapourizers currently widely available in B.C.
11. An additional $20 million is being added to the province's program to help residents purchase zero-emission vehicles, as well as $5 million in incentives to build home and workplace charging stations.
12. This year's budget has set aside $11 million to pay for an inquiry into money laundering in the province.