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Affordability to be focus of B.C. budget, says finance minister

Last Updated Feb 19, 2019 at 7:16 am PDT

FILE - B.C. Premier John Horgan looks on as Finance Minister Carole James answers a question during a media scrum following a meeting with federal ministers at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre during day two of the Liberal cabinet retreat in Nanaimo, B.C., on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Carole James says childcare and housing will remain focuses of budget

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – On Tuesday, the B.C. government will unveil the latest plan for how your taxes are being spent. The budget is expected to keep the spotlight on the NDP’s key word: affordability.

Speaking at a Family Day event, the finance minister indicated they are staying the course. Carole James said they remain focused where they began — on childcare and housing.

“Budget 2019 will be building on that … We’ll be looking at how we expand the opportunities for families.”

James says this includes their 10-year, 30-point housing plan and the goal of having universal childcare in B.C. “That is still reachable. Remember, it’s a seven to 10-year plan, both for childcare and for housing.”

But James has held her cards close to her chest on what exactly the budget will mean to people’s pocketbooks, saying the details will have to wait for Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m a pretty pragmatic and cautious person and I take that into budgeting as well. I think it’s always important to plan for the future. We’ve been proven that need when you look at ICBC and BC Hydro over this past year,” said James, taking a swipe at the previous Liberal government, under whose watch ICBC became what’s now referred to as a “dumpster fire” and BC Hydro amassed a billion-dollar deferral.

With year-after-year devastating forest fires and floods, James some changes will be coming there.

“I’m not going to give away specifics from the budget but I think — as the premier has said and others have said — it does make sense to look at increasing that portion of the budget.”

Specifics are also expected to flesh out funding for the Clean Energy Plan, announced before Christmas, with initiatives to get you to go green. We’re also expecting to see some savings for those with student loans.

NEWS 1130 reporters Liza Yuzda and Hana Mae Nassar will have the full details of the B.C. budget Tuesday afternoon.