B.C. Budget 2013: Balanced budget sells land, raises corporate taxes, angers health sector

B.C.’s just-released budget follows through on the BC Liberals’ promise to provide a balanced budget. 

B.C.’s just-released budget follows through on the BC Liberals’ promise to provide a balanced budget.

 

To achieve that, the government has announced new measures to raise revenues, including:

  • sales of provincial properties and assets, forecast to generate $625 million;
  • raising corporate taxes to 11% from 10%; and
  • a 4% increase to Medical Services Plan premiums next January.

The budget is drawing moderate support from business groups but also triggering concern, notably from health-care workers.

The government’s budget states that “savings and efficiencies” in health-care spending will contain spending growth at the Ministry of Health to an annual average of 2.6%.

The Health Sciences Association of BC (HSABC), which represents 17,000 health-care workers, said the government’s plan to achieve “efficiencies” is code for healthcare service cuts.

“Government is counting on restructuring the delivery of lab services, and containing physician and drug costs to reduce the health care budget,” said Reid Johnson, president of the HSABC. “Based on vague ideas about how that might result in savings, they’re telling British Columbians that direct health care services won't suffer. It just doesn't add up.”

The Hospital Employees’ Union said that planned health spending for the fiscal year 2013-14, announced last year, was reduced by $234 million in today’s budget.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has also lambasted the government for what it calls “a hat-trick of tax hikes,” which it says undermines the good news of a balanced budget.

The CTF is decrying the corporate tax hike, an increase in personal income taxes for anyone making more than $150,000 a year and the sixth increase in MSP premiums in five years.

“These taxes hurt families by making it more expensive to live here and for businesses to set up shop and employ people,” said Jordan Bateman, the CTF’s B.C. director. “Coming on the heels of a return to PST, the creation of good jobs will slow.”

jwagler@biv.com

@jennywagler

 

comments powered by Disqus

Also Read

More From Economy

Canada takes the 11th spot overall when it comes to the top destinations for expats around the world, according to an HSBC survey   

Read Article

Canada’s central bank is keeping its overnight rate target at 1% – the same rate it has been for more than four years and for ...

Read Article

Economy

BIV on Global BC: GDP in Vancouver

By Oct. 21, 2014, 3:17 p.m.

Tyler Orton discusses the expected boost to Vancouver's GDP

Read Article

Most entrepreneurs launch companies without a business plan: Small Business BC survey

Read Article

Subscribe to our mailing lists

* indicates required

Newsletters

* You can modify your newsletter subscriptions at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.
×