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B.C. premier to tout latest budget with address at Vancouver Board of Trade

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Premier David Eby will take his budget tour on the road today as he sells the highlights to members of Vancouver's business community with less than nine months before a provincial election.

Eby's speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade comes after yesterday's tabling of the budget by Finance Minister Katrine Conroy that includes benefits for families and small businesses, but also forecasts a deficit of more than $7.9 billion and rising debt.

Ken Peacock, chief economist of the Business Council of B.C., says the council doesn't agree with the plan to run large operating deficits when the economy is near full capacity and people are struggling to pay their bills because of inflation.

The Board of Trade says it welcomes the government's decision to raise the threshold on the Employer Health Tax but it also has concerns about the deficit and debt forecasts.

The budget also includes a commitment to provide one free cycle of invitro fertilization to anyone in B.C. who wants the opportunity to start a family, a plan Kristan Ash of the Midwives Association of B.C. says will mean delivering many wonderful new babies.

Opposition BC United Leader Kevin Falcon says the government is spending recklessly and the budget's deficit and debt forecasts could trigger a credit rating downgrade.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.

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