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Liberals paint rosy picture of BC's finances ahead of confidence vote

Last Updated Jun 28, 2017 at 11:56 am PST

(Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130 staff photo)

Unconfirmed numbers show a $2.8 billion surplus in BC

After 16 years, the BC Liberals are expected to lose power in Thursday's confidence vote

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Admitting he’s probably about to lose his post, BC’s finance minister is touting the books in newly released financial figures.

Mike de Jong says the numbers that still need to be confirmed by the Auditor General, show a $2.8 billion surplus. That is $1.3 billion more than originally forecast. The government also claims its overall direct operating debt dropped by $3.4 billion.

De Jong says the GDP growth in the province was nearly three times the national average in 2016. “[The] government’s commitment to fiscal discipline and economic growth that supports jobs throughout BC helped reduce taxpayer-supported debt for the first time in almost 10 years, while allowing the Province to make priority investments,” de Jong says in a statement.

  •  $758 million to fund housing initiatives
  •  $486 million increase in health care spending
  •  $256 million increase in education spending
  •  $137 million increase in social service spending of for child, youth and community living
  •  $193 million for the Lion’s Gate Waste Water Treatment Plant Project
  •  $255 million increase in other sectors, partly offset by a $199 million decrease in debt service costs

(Source: BC Liberals)

The BC Liberals say the stronger than expected economic forecast was due to steady job numbers, retail sales and housing starts. “Taxation revenues overall were up $2.8 billion compared to last year, with personal income tax revenue up $1.3 billion (15.8 per cent), sales tax revenue up $556 million (9.2 per cent), property transfer tax revenue up $493 million (32.2 per cent) and corporate income tax revenue up $216 million (7.8 per cent).”

After 16 years in power, the BC Liberal government is expected to fall in a confidence vote that’s expected tomorrow.

The BC Green Party and NDP have previously struck a coalition and have an agreement in place to form government, but ultimately the decision lies with the Lieutenant Governor, Judith Guichon.