Finance minister sells budget to chamber

Finance Minister Mike de Jong (right) addresses the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. - Bhreandáin Clugston photo
Finance Minister Mike de Jong (right) addresses the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
— image credit: Bhreandáin Clugston photo

Finance Minister Mike de Jong pledged fiscal prudence as he delivered a post-budget address to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce on Friday,

Announced on Tuesday by the Liberal government, the provincial budget proposes to balance the books using increases to income tax, Medical Services Plan premiums and the sale of about two per cent of the province’s assets.

"We worked hard to get our province to the point where we were recording surpluses in the billion of dollars...And then the recession hit and we found ourselves in the hole," de Jong told a crowd of about 100 at the Delta Vancouver Airport hotel Friday afternoon. "We worked hard as British Columbians—not just as a government...—to dig ourselves out of that hole."

The budget also calls for a $2 increase in taxes per carton of cigarettes, which would go into effect Oct. 1.

Taxpayer benefits in the budget will help families, including an educational savings grants and funding for childcare, de Jon said.

Other tax increases contained in the budget include personal income taxes for those earning $150,000 or more rising 2.1 per cent to 16.8 per cent for two years, starting next January. That increase would be rolled back to the current rate of 14.7 per cent in 2015.

Strengthening the economy stands to help British Columbians of all ages, Richmond East MLA Linda Reid said following Tuesday’s provincial budget announcement.

She said services provided today shouldn’t be funded by future taxes.

“Certainly it’s a responsible budget. We do believe it’s achievable,” Reid said.

Tax credits will continue for seniors for renovations, allowing them to stay home longer.

“Is this a family budget? Absolutely it’s a family budget. There are things here that speak to just about every aspect.”

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