B.C. endorses Ottawa’s balanced budget

Ottawa's tax cuts cost B.C. treasury too; Industry Minister James Moore defends Coast Guard changes for West Coast

Industry Minister James Moore (left) and B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong

VICTORIA – The federal government has joined B.C. in the balanced budget club, but it comes at a cost to provincial revenues.

Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivered his first budget Tuesday, featuring increased defence spending and a new public transit fund that wouldn’t take effect until after the federal election scheduled for this fall.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said changes in the federal budget such as reducing small business tax and allowing personal income splitting for couples have a flow-through effect on provincial revenues. That could be between $18 million and $30 million to B.C., he said.

De Jong said the B.C. government supports the reduction in federal small business tax rate, which is to decline from 11 to nine per cent by 2019.

A new federal fund to help pay for transit doesn’t take effect until 2017, but de Jong said he expects current federal infrastructure programs to continue until then.

Federal Industry Minister James Moore said the Conservative government is still distributing funds from the $70 billion infrastructure fund that was included in last year’s budget, and the new fund is in response to cities’ demands.

The mayors of Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and the national and provincial municipal associations have all endorsed the budget, Moore said.

B.C. NDP finance critic Carole James said the federal budget seems to have missed B.C. priorities, and it was frustrating to see Ottawa balance its books on the same day as the Canadian Coast Guard closed another West Coast facility.

The Coast Guard’s marine communications and traffic centre at Ucluelet is closed, with the function transferred to Prince Rupert. A similar station in Vancouver is to close May 6, with traffic monitored from Victoria, and another monitoring station at Comox is set to close this year, according to Unifor, the union representing Coast Guard employees.

Moore said the rationalization and modernization of ship tracking systems on the West Coast will improve safety, and has already been done on the East Coast.

Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon said balancing the national budget, investing in transit and providing investment incentives for industries such as liquefied natural gas and forestry will help offset the effects of a slump in oil prices and weak commodity markets.

 

Just Posted

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

Okanagan’s first Christmas was cold and bleak

Father Pandosy and his crew likely spent their first Christmas cold and hungry

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15-to-19 year-olds, including one in Coldstream

Holiday Train rolls through the Shuswap

Hundreds of people have gathered in Sicamous, Canoe and Salmon Arm for… Continue reading

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Most Read