B.C. budget still in the black, barely

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says job growth isn't where it should be, sales tax collection to be stepped up

Finance Minister Mike de Jong shows changes in budget update

VICTORIA – With half of the fiscal year in the books, the B.C. government is clinging to a small surplus that was promised in this spring’s election.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong presented the province’s second quarter budget update Wednesday, projecting that the fiscal year will end in March with a surplus of $165 million. That’s up $29 million from the September budget update. Corporate tax revenue is higher than expected, making up for personal tax revenue that was $284 million less than forecast.

Part of the decline in personal income tax is due to employment, which de Jong said was disappointingly “flat lined” so far in 2013. He said unemployment has “dropped modestly” and full-time employment has grown, but the province has work to do to meet its jobs plan goal.

NDP finance critic Mike Farnworth said the heavily advertised jobs plan is a flop, and the unemployment rate is down largely because 12,500 people have left B.C. to seek work since the plan was launched two years ago.

“Just look at the job numbers,” Farnworth said. “By their own admission, they’re pathetic.”

Another revenue loss for the B.C. treasury is provincial sales tax revenue, which is running $100 million below the budget forecast for the year. De Jong said one factor in that is that not all businesses have registered to collect and remit the PST since the province cancelled the harmonized sales tax last March.

More than 102,000 businesses have applied to register for the PST, and the finance ministry is continuing to assist businesses with seminars and one-on-one consultations on switching over.

De Jong said finance ministry staff have given businesses time to adjust and comply, but the grace period is ending.

“As we move into 2014, we’re going to expect people to fulfil their obligations and remit PST that they are obliged to, and officials will be pursuing that with the diligence that you would expect,” de Jong said.

 

Just Posted

Shuswap residents taking treated sludge protest to Kamloops

Opponents to proposed use of biosolids at Turtle Valley ranch will air concerns at city hall

VIDEO: Weekend weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap

A mix of rain, clouds and sun are expected for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen

Vietnam visit focused on waste management, greenhouse gases

Landfill within cemetary one of the challenges looked at by CSRD’s Ben Van Nostrand

Zoning change to ease plans for housing for homeless in Salmon Arm

Forty units for homeless considered by BC Housing along with 70 units of affordable rental housing

Easter dinner at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

Clients of the Gospel Mission are in for an Easter feast.

It was no Kentucky Derby: B.C. girls host foot-long snail race

Two Grade 3 students in White Rock put four snails to the test in a hotly-contested street race

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Snow falling at Big White near season’s end

Big White is open until April 22

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Rain closes North Okanagan fields

Forecast calling for more rain Friday

Letter: Writer hopes Alberta will turn off the tap, teach B.C. a lesson

So glad to see Jason Kenney get elected in Alberta and hope… Continue reading

Our history in pictures

George Armstrong (wearing the bowler hat) and Enger Sandal in the press… Continue reading

Our history in pictures

R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum will be providing weekly look back… Continue reading

Most Read