B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks to the legislature’s pre-Christmas session to approve more COVID-19 spending, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks to the legislature’s pre-Christmas session to approve more COVID-19 spending, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

Rising income, real estate tax hold B.C. deficit at $13.6 billion

Cost of next COVID-19 payments up to $1.7 billion

B.C.’s deficit is forecast to rise to a record $13.6 billion for the current year, with some signs of recovery offsetting another $2 billion round of COVID-19 spending debated in the legislature this week.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson released the province’s second quarter economic update Dec. 17, two months late as the government struggles to keep up with the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. It shows an increase in the forecast deficit, $850 million higher than the first quarter forecast. B.C.’s economy is now expected to shrink by 6.2 per cent for 2020, with a “partial recovery” forecast for 2021.

The cost of sending $1,000 in borrowed money to almost all B.C. households whether they lost income in the pandemic or not, an October election promise from Premier John Horgan, is offset by better-than-forecast income tax and property transfer tax revenue, as well as gains in net income for Crown corporations such as B.C. Hydro and ICBC.

Estimated cost of the payments has been revised upward, from $1.45 billion in the NDP election platform to $1.7 billion in the latest update. It pays $1,000 to families with 2019 income up to $125,000, and $500 for single individuals who made up to $67,500 last year. Reduced payments are to go to families earning up to $175,000 and individuals making up to $87,000 in 2019.

B.C.’s export revenues are down eight per cent so far this year, but the forecast for natural resource revenue has increased by $156 million, mainly due to increased prices for lumber and natural gas.

The biggest boost to forecast revenues is $479 million more in property transfer tax, driven by rising real estate prices and an active market in recent months. Commercial Crown net income is revised upward by $363 million from the first quarter.

“ICBC net income is up $324 million, mainly due to savings from lower claims costs, Liquor Distribution Branch net income is up $35 million, reflecting a shift in consumption to home purchases, and this is partly offset by weaker B.C. Lottery Corp. income due to temporary casino closures,” Robinson told reporters Dec. 17.

RELATED: ICBC applies for 15% rate decrease as lawyers pushed out

RELATED: B.C. tourism calls for ‘bridge’ recovery from COVID-19


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

File photo
Police respond to reports of suspicious visitors in Vavenby

Clearwater RCMP responded to 54 calls for service this past week.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

District of Clearwater meetings are open to the public. The meeting agendas and past meetings minutes can be viewed on the DOC's website. Every meeting has time allocated at the end for comments from the public.
District of Clearwater hires new chief adminstrative officer

The new CAO will arrive at the end of June.

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
Coquitlam teacher suspended after messaging students online, calling them ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Capt. Arpit Mahajan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Snowbirds 2 - shows off his ‘Jenn Book’ dedicated to Capt. Jennifer Casey. Zoom screenshot
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Most Read