Printer-friendly version   

The Best Place on Earth

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2010FIN0012-000218

March 2, 2010

Ministry of Finance

 

 

BUDGET 2010 – BUILDING A PROSPEROUS BRITISH COLUMBIA

 

VICTORIA Setting the foundation for decades of renewed economic growth, protecting vital services, adding to British Columbia’s competitiveness and building on the tremendous momentum of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are core elements of the 2010 provincial budget tabled in the B.C. Legislature today by Finance Minister Colin Hansen.

 

“We are enhancing support for B.C.’s families, meeting our financial targets, maintaining our commitments to health and education, and we are on track to return to balanced budgets in 2013,” said Hansen. “Recognizing the many opportunities resulting from the global exposure provided by the Olympic Games, we are also furthering our investments in areas such as clean energy, arts and culture and international commerce while ensuring future job growth across B.C.”

 

Budget 2010 maintains the government’s priority of protecting core services in health and education and commits every dollar raised through the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and four other revenue streams to be used for health services funding when the HST comes into effect July 1, 2010.

 

By 2012-13 the Ministry of Health Services’ budget will increase by over $2 billion from the 2009-10 level. Total health spending will reach $17.9 billion or 42 per cent of all government expenditures over the next three years. Funding increases are focused on sustaining front-line service delivery, including $1.3 billion for the regional health sector to fund acute-care, community, assisted-living and other health services.

 

In education, per-pupil funding for students in the K-12 levels will rise from $8,200 in 2009-10 to an estimated $8,301 for 2010-11, the highest ever. Further supporting families and early-childhood education, the introduction of full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds is being phased in starting this September, and as it becomes fully operational, annual funding will rise to $129 million by 2012. In the post-secondary sector, funding remains stable at $1.88 billion in 2010-11.

 

With Budget 2010, the B.C. government continues to invest in job-creating construction projects such as highways, schools, bridges, hospitals and other needed infrastructure throughout British Columbia.

 


 

$5.3 billion has been committed to over 850 accelerated capital projects across British Columbia, an increase of $1.9 billion since the September Update 2009. This is generating and protecting approximately 34,000 construction jobs over the life of the projects in communities across B.C.

 

Budget 2010 also provides a new property tax deferral program for homeowners with children under the age of 18. Eligible homeowners will have the option of deferring their provincial and local property taxes in recognition of the high cost of raising a family. This program will come into effect in the next few months.

 

An additional $26 million in funding over three years has been set aside to support child-care programs that assist low and moderate income families with the cost of child care through direct assistance to families for child care and funding to child-care operators.

 

As part of the Province’s long-term vision for economic growth, expansion of the International Financial Activity Program will greatly increase B.C.’s potential as a hub for international companies. Major changes include adding digital-media publishing and distribution; certification and trading of carbon credits; and clean technology to the list of businesses that qualify for tax reductions under the program.

 

A new tax credit has also been introduced for digital media and enhancements to provincial film-tax credits have been made to reflect the convergence of these sectors and their importance to the B.C. economy.

 

To maintain B.C.’s leadership in addressing climate change, Budget 2010 commits $100 million to climate action and clean-energy development, initiatives that will support new jobs and investments in B.C. communities, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. An additional $35 million will be invested in the successful LiveSmart BC program for household-energy audits and energy-efficiency retrofits.

 

The budget also provides $60 million over the next three years as a legacy for sports and the arts. Of the $60 million, half will be used to enhance opportunities among British Columbians in the arts, such as visual art, music, theatre and dance. The other $30 million will facilitate increased participation in youth sport, including improved athlete and coach development.

 

“Building on the legacy of the most successful Winter Games ever, we are positioning British Columbia for renewed growth and prosperity, while ensuring our financial resources are clearly focused on areas that meet tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s,” said Hansen. “Through effective and prudent management of the Province’s finances, we are setting the foundation for the province we want — not just five or 10 years from now — but for generations to come.”

 

-30-

 

For the Finance Minister’s speech and more details on Budget 2010, visit www.bcbudget.ca.

 

Media Contact: Finance Communications

250 356-9872

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2010FIN0012-000218

March 2, 2010

Ministry of Finance

 

 

A RENEWED EMPHASIS ON SPORTS AND THE ARTS

 

Budget 2010 builds on the momentum of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games by providing $60 million over three years to support community engagement in the arts and youth sports.

 

The new 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy will dedicate $30 million, or 50 per cent of the funding over three years, to increased participation in sport, with an emphasis on youth and improved athlete and coach development.

 

Funding being considered under the sport legacy program includes:

         Enhanced after-school programs and funding for coach development.

         An expanded KidSport program to reduce the financial barriers faced by families whose children wish to participate in organized sport.

         Establishing a “Sport on the Move” program to help school teams, particularly those in remote areas, with travel costs.

         Creating new regional sport academies that expand the role of B.C.’s regional centres focused on the province’s next generation of elite athletes.

 

The other $30 million of the 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy will enhance opportunities for all British Columbians in the arts, including participation in music, theatre, visual arts, dance and digital media.

 

Programs may include regional events that reflect the diversity of communities and include multi-disciplinary arts presentations and performances by artists and performers in various communities, with a possibility of showcasing in larger centres.

 

Funding Sustains Olympic Legacies

Budget 2010 builds on direct investments of over $1 billion in sport since 2001, including infrastructure (more than $655 million), support for community clubs and teams (more than $200 million) and sport programming (more than $155 million, including sport event hosting). The Province’s investment has leveraged an additional $580 million from Canada and brings the total investment in sport to more than $1.5 billion since 2001.

 

Our strong and vibrant sport system has enabled the 35 Olympic athletes from B.C. to achieve success at the 2010 Winter Games, thanks in part to support from the Province’s $10-million investment in Own the Podium and $40-million Olympic legacy funding for B.C.’s Integrated Performance System.

 

B.C. has also invested $17 million in First Nations’ Olympic Legacies including the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy Fund. Through the fund, more than $1 million has been distributed to Aboriginal communities, organizations and high-performance athletes throughout B.C.

 

There is also an existing endowment of $20 million comprising the Arts Legacy Fund, the earnings of which support increased arts and cultural activities leading up to and beyond the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Province also provided over $16 million in funding for arts to 2010 Legacies Now, and invested $1.3 million in the Cultural Olympiad.

 

-30-

 

 


 

 

 

BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2010FIN0012-000218

March 2, 2010

Ministry of Finance

 

 

NEW SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITIES, FAMILIES, AND YOUTH

 

Budget 2010 provides an additional $108 million over three years to reflect government’s commitment to support families through investments in full-day kindergarten, services for families with children, youth sports development and excellence, and community level arts activities.

 

In addition to $60 million for the 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy, the Province is fully funding the implementation of voluntary, full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds. Funding is also provided to support programs that assist low- and moderate-income families with the cost of child care.

 

Budget 2010 also provides measures to support families with children who struggle in difficult economic times, including the new property tax deferral program for families with children under 18, and continues to provide $160 million in 2012-13 in support of those in need of income assistance during the economic downturn.

 

Full-Day Kindergarten

Budget 2010 reaffirms government’s commitment to introduce voluntary full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds beginning September 2010. Full-day kindergarten programs will help ensure that every child in B.C. has the best possible start in school and in life. Funding has been set at $44 million in 2010-11, $107 million in 2011-12, and $129 million in 2012-13, of which $22 million in 2012-13 is new funding.

 

Full-day kindergarten will be available for more than half B.C.’s eligible students this September. By September 2011, full-day kindergarten will be available for every five-year-old in the province.

 

Additional Child-Care Support for Families

Budget 2010 also provides an additional $26 million in funding over three years to support child-care programs that assist low- and moderate-income families with the cost of child care. This includes direct assistance to families for child care.

 

Additionally, the new Extended Family Program will improve upon the Child in the Home of a Relative Program, ensuring adequate assistance and safeguards for vulnerable children are in place.


 

 

Property Tax Deferral Program for Families with Children

Budget 2010 includes provision for a new property tax deferral program for families with children under 18 for the 2010 tax year. Beginning July 1, 2010, homeowners who are financially responsible for a child under the age of 18 and have at least 15 per cent equity in their homes will be able to defer property taxes on their principal residence.

 

As with the property tax deferral program for seniors and the financial hardship property tax deferment program, eligible homeowners will be able to defer all or part of the unpaid portion of their property taxes. Deferred taxes must be paid if the home is sold, ownership is transferred or it becomes part of an estate.

 

Interest on deferred taxes will be charged at the prime lending rate of interest. The rate will be set twice annually. To be eligible for the program, homeowners with financial responsibility for a child under 18 must also meet the basic eligibility requirements of the current property tax deferral programs. They must:

         Be the registered owner of the home.

         Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident under the Immigration Act (Canada).

         Have lived in B.C. for at least one year prior to applying.

         Apply on the home in which they currently live.

         Have a current fire insurance policy on their home.

 

This expansion of existing property tax deferral programs enables the B.C. government to assist families with children, especially during years when household costs are highest.

 

-30-

 


 

BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2010FIN0012-000218

March 2, 2010

Ministry of Finance

 

 

FISCAL PLAN 2010-11 – 2012-13

Economic Outlook

The Ministry of Finance forecasts the economy to grow by 2.2 per cent in 2010, 2.3 per cent in 2011, and return to more normal growth of 2.8 per cent in the medium term. In the September Update 2009, B.C.’s economy was projected to grow 1.9 per cent in 2010.

 

The upgraded B.C. forecast for 2010 reflects the emerging economic recovery in the U.S. and throughout the world, stabilizing commodity and financial markets, and improved domestic demand in British Columbia.

 

Revenue Outlook

Following two years of declining growth in 2008-09 and 2009-10, revenue is expected to average 4.9 per cent annual growth over the next three years. Total government revenue is forecast at $39.2 billion in 2010-11, $41.0 billion in 2011-12, and $42.8 billion in 2012-13.

 

Projected revenue growth during this period reflects improving economic conditions, higher commodity and lumber prices, and increased forest harvest volumes as compared to 2009-10 when total revenues declined 3.3 per cent.

 

Expense Outlook

Total expense over the three-year plan is forecast at $40.6 billion in 2010-11, $41.6 billion in 2011-12 and $42.5 billion in 2012-13.

 

Priority Program Funding

The B.C. government will fund an additional $1.36 billion in program priorities over the next three years. Savings and efficiencies identified in 2009-10 have enabled the government to reallocate $500 million in federal HST transition funding from 2009-10 to 2010-11 and 2011-12.

 

Budget 2010 provides additional priority program spending in the following areas compared to September Update 2009:

         A $447-million funding increase for health care in 2012-13 (total budget increase of over $2 billion since 2009-10).

         $108 million focused on families and youth, including $60 million in new funding for a 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy, and an additional $22 million for full day kindergarten in 2011-12.

         An additional $156 million over three years for education, including $150 million for schools in addition to the allocation for full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds.

         $69 million for justice and policing operations.

         $58 million in additional provincial funding for infrastructure projects in communities, to be matched by other levels of government.

         $35 million in additional funding for LiveSmart BC programs.

         $100 million in new clean energy development funding, to support new jobs and investments in communities, while at the same time lowering greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

 

Significant Budget Decisions Health Care

Protecting health care is a top priority for the B.C. government. By 2012-13, the Ministry of Health Services’ budget will increase by over $2 billion from the 2009-10 level. This represents the largest share of government funding increases during the fiscal period. Government is committed to allocating to health spending all revenue received from five key revenue sources harmonized sales tax, medical services plan premiums, tobacco taxes, lottery revenues dedicated to the Health Special Account, and health transfer payments from the federal government.

 

Total health spending will reach $17.9 billion or 42 per cent of all government expenses by function by 2012-13.

 

Education

Per-pupil funding for students in the K-12 levels will increase from $8,200 in 2009-10 to an estimated $8,301 for 2010-11, the highest ever. In total, operating funding for K-12 schools is increased from $4.55 billion in 2009-10 to $4.66 billion in 2010-11 on a school-year basis. This increase includes the phased introduction of full-day kindergarten for five-year-olds in 2010.

 

Budget 2010 maintains funding to post-secondary institutions at $1.88 billion for 2010-11. This includes a $55-million increase added in Budget 2009 for universities, colleges and institutes.

 

Tax Deferral Support for Families

Beginning in 2010, homeowners who are financially responsible for a child under 18 will be able to defer property taxes on their principal residence. Eligible homeowners who have at least 15 per cent equity in their homes will be able to defer all or part of their annual property taxes. Interest charged on deferred taxes will be at the prime rate.

 

Capital Spending

Over the next three years, capital spending on schools, hospitals, roads, hydro-electric projects and other infrastructure in B.C. is expected to total $20.7 billion. This assumes federal contributions of $1.5 billion.

 

Accelerated Infrastructure Spending

Budget 2010 continues B.C.’s commitment to accelerated infrastructure spending to keep British Columbians working and stimulate the economy. $5.3 billion has been committed to accelerated infrastructure investments throughout British Columbia. This is an increase of $1.9 billion since the September Update 2009. Accelerated infrastructure funding is provided through a number of sources, primarily by the provincial and federal governments, as well as by local governments and other third parties.

 

Debt

The total provincial debt is forecast to be $47.8 billion in 2010-11, $52.4 billion in 2011-12 and $55.9 billion in 2012-13.

 

From 2002-03 to 2008-09, significant reductions were made in the taxpayer-supported debt burden. The taxpayer supported debt-to-GDP ratio a key measure of debt affordability was reduced by 37 per cent during this period. Taxpayer-supported interest costs continue to remain low, representing less than 5.2 cents per dollar of revenue in each year of the three-year plan.

Budget Outlook

Budget 2010 projects deficits of $1.7 billion in 2010-11, $945 million in 2011-12, and $145 million in 2012-13, and reaffirms government’s commitment to return to balanced budgets by 2013-14.

 

The fiscal plan includes contingencies of $450 million in each year of the fiscal plan. A forecast allowance of $300 million has been included for 2010-11 and 2011-12, and $400 million for 2012-13.

-30-

 

For the Finance Minister’s speech and more details on Budget 2010, visit www.bcbudget.ca.

 

Media Contact:             Finance Communications

250 356-9872

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.