VICTORIA – The British Columbia government tabled fourth consecutive surplus budget Tuesday: Here are some of the highlights:
— A surplus budget of $264 million and a forecast allowance of $350 million, spending of $47.5 billion and revenues at $48 billion.
— A $100 million B.C. prosperity fund is created out of the 2015-16 budget surplus to be used to help eliminate the debt, invest in health care, education, transportation and family supports.
— Children will be exempt from paying the medical service premiums, a savings of up to $1,298 starting Jan. 1, 2017.
— Investment in new and upgraded infrastructure including $2.9 billion for health-care projects, $3.1 billion for transportation infrastructure, $2.5 billion for post-secondary facilities and $1.7 billion for maintenance and replacement for kindergarten to Grade 12 schools.
— Health care spending is up by 3 per cent to 1.6 billion.
— B.C. Economic Forecast Council projects a provincial GDP growth of 2.7 per cent in 2016 and 2.6 per cent in 2017. The provincial government forecasts its growth at 2.4 per cent this year and 2.3 per cent next year.
— B.C.’s economic growth is attracting people from other regions of the country with a net inflow of 6,315 people from other regions, one-third of those from Alberta.