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B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled the 2017 B.C. Budget in Victoria on 21 February 2017

2017 B.C. Budget Commentary

On 21 February 2017, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled his pre-election budget. The 2017 budget (hereinafter known as the Budget) will be balanced for five consecutive years. The following is a summary of the tax change highlights. The information contained herein is current as of the last revision date below.

Tax Related Changes

Remarks

The Budget proposed a reduction of MSP premium by 50% beginning 1 January 2018 for households with an annual net income of $120,000 and below. This measure will reduce MSP premium rate back to the 1993 level and is the first step in eliminating MSP premiums.

Media responses to the 2017 BC Budget
Child protective service (CPS) is a global problem in most English-speaking nations. State-sponsored child removal has attracted immense public outrage. Some former CPS workers turn whistle blowers and publicly speak against this well concealed oppression.

In view of the real estate price hike in 2016, homeowner grant threshold for principal residences in B.C. had been increased from $1,200,000 for 2016 to $1,600,00 for 2017 in January 2017 to prevent a public outcry of increasing property tax burden. The basic grant is worth up to $570, or up to $770 if the home is in a northern or rural area.

Furthermore, the threshold for the first-time home buyer's program will be increased to $500,000 from $475,000. This measure saves home buyers up to $8,000 in property transfer tax on the purchase of their first home.

Interest rate on B.C. student loans will be reduced from prime plus 2.5 per cent to just prime starting in August 2017.

$320 million over the next three years will be spent on interim funding for K-12 education pending the conclusion of a final agreement with the B.C. Teachers' Federation on class size and composition.

The B.C. Government triggered a decade long legal battle in 2002 after passing a law denying teachers the right to bargain class size, the number of special needs students who can be in a class and the number of specialist school teachers required in their contract negotiation. B.C. teachers decisively won in the Supreme Court of Canada on 10 November 2016. The highest court decision (British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia 2016 SCC 49) restored clauses deleted from the teachers' contract by the B.C. Liberal government of Gordon Campbell in 2002. To comply with the court's order, the B.C. Government will have to spend between $250 million and $300 million more each year to hire hundreds of teachers. In this Budget, another $9 million over three years will be spent on keeping rural schools open.

This case demonstrates how the rule of law could overturn policies and legislations made by a democratically elected government. Be mindful that judges are appointed, not elected. They are not accountable to voters and enjoy absolute legal immunity so long as they are acting within the scope of their duties. In this case, voters are compelled to spend more by a 7 to 2 decision in the highest court, despite the government they elected decided to spend less. This explains why many new governments often appoint judges who share similar views and political orientation into the supreme courts shortly after coming to power.

If you are appalled by the aforesaid court-obliged free spending, below is even more frightening. The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), which has been accused of poor management in the wake of a number of deaths of children in care (for instance Nick Lang and Alex Gervais), will receive an additional $287 million over the next three years. Like in the previous provincial budget, MCFD received extra funding much more than initially set for. Additional tax dollars to an unavailing ministry producing questionable, if not outright counter-productive, results is most disturbing.

Against common sense and sound management principles, MCFD is rewarded more fundings when its child protection workers make more mistakes and create more atrocities that harm the very children they are hired to protect. Enough is never enough. Too much money has been given to the wrong hands. Increase in MCFD's budget enables hiring more child protection workers who have statutory power to remove children under age 19 from their parents based on bureaucratic opinions. They have access to the deep pocket of taxpayers to launch endless legal action to seek child custody from parents and are motivated by job security to do so under the pretext of child protection. MCFD will have $45 million over the next three years to add resources for mental health counseling and treatment for children. This suggests that service providers in the child protection industry are extremely successful in lobbying more fundings, despite numerous ministry-created atrocities and countless outraged parents with children unjustly removed.

This is a typical pre-election budget aiming to appease stakeholders whose financial interests are affected by the rising real estate market, union members and service providers whose livelihood largely depends on government spending.



[This page was added on 22 February 2017, last revised 22 February 2017.]