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NEWS RELEASE · 21st February 2012
BC Liberals
Budget 2012 lays a firm foundation for the future, putting British Columbia on the right path to eliminate the deficit, protect public services, and build a more competitive economy that attracts jobs and investment, announced Finance Minister Kevin Falcon.

Budget 2012 shows the deficit forecast for 2011-12 improved by $594 million over second Quarterly Report projections to $2.5 billion. The Province forecasts a deficit of $968 million in 2012-13, and surpluses of $154 million in 2013-14 and $250 million in 2014-15.

Over the next three years, government will contain spending growth to an annual average of two per cent while continuing to protect health and education funding. The Ministry of Health budget will increase $1.5 billion over the three-year fiscal plan to nearly $17.3 billion in 2014-15. While continuing to achieve key health outcomes that lead the country, government will work to reduce the rate of growth in health spending through an ongoing focus on identifying additional best practices for delivering care and finding administrative savings.

Funding to school districts will increase, despite a trend of declining enrolment. In addition to the $4.7 billion a year districts will receive for the next three years, government is investing an additional $165 million to establish a fund to deal directly with issues of class composition. The annual facilities grant for maintenance again totals $110 million in 2012-13.

Government remains committed to funding critical social services and is reallocating contingency funds to the ministries of justice and social development, where caseloads continue to rise.

Budget 2012 introduces new tax measures that benefit seniors, families and businesses in B.C., including:

* The B.C. First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus of up to $10,000.
* The B.C. Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to $1,000.
* The Children’s Fitness Credit and the Children’s Arts Credit.

Budget 2012 also supports the B.C. Jobs Plan with tax measures for businesses that:

* Eliminate the provincial jet fuel tax for international flights.
* Provide an additional $3 million for the Small Business Venture Capital Program.
* Extend the Training Tax Credit program.
* Introduce new training tax credits for shipbuilding and ship repair industry employers.
* Make permanent the existing temporary municipal tax rate caps for B.C.’s major port terminals.

Given the uncertain fiscal environment, the small business corporate tax rate will be maintained at 2.5 per cent, and will be revisited after the fiscal situation has improved. The fiscal plan also includes a temporary, one-point increase in the general corporate income tax rate to 11 per cent, effective April 1, 2014. The requirement to implement this tax measure will be re-evaluated in next year’s budget. Additionally, to help spur economic activity throughout the province and generate needed revenue, government will release non-strategic surplus assets for sale.

Over the next year, the government will undertake a comprehensive review of the revenue-neutral carbon tax. The review will cover all aspects of the carbon tax—both positive and negative—including revenue neutrality, and it will consider the impact on the competitiveness of B.C. businesses, and in particular B.C. food producers.

Budget 2012 forecasts British Columbia’s taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio will be 17.6 per cent in 2012-13, 18.2 per cent in 2013-14, and peak at 18.3 per cent in 2014-15, before trending downward once again. Taxpayer-supported capital spending on schools, hospitals and other infrastructure across the province over the next three years is expected to total $10.7 billion.

The government forecasts British Columbia’s economy will grow by 1.8 per cent in 2012, 2.2 per cent in 2013 and 2.5 per cent per cent in 2014 – a forecast that is prudent relative to the independent British Columbia Economic Forecast Council.

Budget highlights attached below
The sad part about this whole mess
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 23rd February 2012
When the liberals took over they had a size able surplus, they arguably had the good luck of being in power during BC's most prosperous times in recent memory. What do they have to show for it ? The hugest debt ever in our history ,complete chaos in every government ministry. Now they promise to not raise taxes while trying to defeat the deficit. They will do this by cutting spending and raising ICBC rates ,medical premiuims,user fees,sounds like taxes to me. Try raising corporate tax rates a little ,sooner than later.
BC Liberals Layout 2012 Budget
Comment by cmmadmomma on 23rd February 2012
ha ha ha Good one Mr. Giesbrecht:)
She should start preparing her 3 envelopes
Selling off a stable revenue stream.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 22nd February 2012
There is an old story in political circles that goes like this.

At the swearing in ceremony a new premier was given three envelopes numbered 1, 2, and 3 by the outgoing premier with these instructions. Whenever he felt things were not going his way during his tenure and the party was low in the polls, he should open one of the envelopes in the prescribed order.

As it happened the occasion arose rather quickly to open the first envelope. In it was a note that read, "blame the previous administration." A year later the same situation arose so he opened the second envelope. The note read, "blame the world economy." Then fate conspired and he was forced to open the third envelope. This note read, "prepare three envelopes."

All this sounds like the time for Christy Clark to prepare three envelopes.
BC Liberals selling out to U.S. interests...again?
Comment by Karen on 22nd February 2012
"According to the B.C. Lobbyist Registry, Progressive Strategies (the Progressive Group) registered from April 1, 2010 to April 9, 2013 to lobby the B.C. government on behalf of Exel Logistics “to develop a new liquor distribution system for the Province of B.C.”…
…Progressive’s chairman is Patrick Kinsella, the political strategist behind Premier Christy Clark’s successful, 2011 Liberal leadership campaign. Kinsella was involved in two of the biggest privatizations of former Premier Gordon Campbell’s administration.
Progressive client Accenture made a 10-year, $1.45 billion outsourcing deal with BC Hydro in 2003.
B.C. Supreme Court evidence indicates Kinsella was working for both CN Rail and BC Rail before and during negotiations for the 2003 BC Rail privatization."

Progressive Stragegies and Exel are both U.S. owned. Progressive headquarters are in New York, NY. Exel headquarters in Westerville, OH. The BC government is, and has been since 2001, a silent arm of the Federal Conservatives - both obviously puppets of international capitalism.

Privatizing BC Liquor Distribution Branch
Comment by Karen on 22nd February 2012
I'm more interested in hearing about the BC Liberal's plan to privatize another public asset, the BC Liquor Distribution Service. Why sell off such a lucrative asset that supplies revenue for education, healthcare and support for children, seniors and the disabled for a one time cash payment?

Selling off the rights for liquor distribution, which is managed much like a crown corporation, would result in an almost $3 billion revenue short-fall in following years. Is this ploy intended to reduce the next government's ability to generate revenue given that the Liberals haven't a hope in hell of winning the next election, another union-busting tactic, another way for this government to cover up their own fiscal ineptitude, or a combination of all three?