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Provincial budget 2020 stays course, offers few new promises

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Feb 18, 2020 at 10:14 am PDT

FILE - British Columbia's at the press gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

NDP government is forcasting only moderate economic growth

Finance minister says budget will be balanced

Budget will show how the province plans to move ICBC to a no-fault model

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s finance minister is tempering economic expectations ahead of Tuesday’s provincial budget.

“We’ll focus once again on affordability,” Minister of Finance Carole James said at a Family Day event in Victoria on Monday.

The NDP government is forecasting only moderate economic growth, while focusing on the path laid out in its two previous budgets – keeping costs down, such as those for housing, rents and childcare.

“I am looking forward to the third budget where, again, people will really be at the heart of our work and our decision making,” added James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon-Hill.

“There are more than 20,000 families now who pay $10 a day or less for childcare. That’s huge savings that go directly in parents’ pockets.”

James also mentioned the province has seen a drop in property transfer tax revenue due to fewer residential sales, but she is hearing more people are able to get in the housing market and more rentals are on the market.

She said the 2020 budget will also touch on sustainability with regards to climate change, and show how the province plans to move ICBC to a no-fault model by next year amid concerns that B.C.’s bottom line will cut too close to running a deficit.

James was clear, though – the budget will be balanced.

“We started a plan when we were elected,” James said. “This budget will really be about continuing on that road – continuing that plan that is really making life better for every British Columbian.”