Finance Minister Mike de Jong says B.C. may be the only province in Canada to balance its budget for the year ahead.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus funds low-income assistance

B.C. government ends child support clawback for welfare recipients, puts more money into Community Living B.C.

VICTORIA – Expecting budget surpluses for the next three years, the B.C. government is ending the deduction of spousal child support from social assistance payments and providing modest benefits for other low-income earners.

A target of single parents and poverty advocacy organizations in recent years, the “clawback” of child support payments ends Sept. 1. That is expected to leave about $32 million more over the next three years in the pockets of the parents who receive child support along with income assistance and disability payments, a benefit to 3,200 families and 5,400 children.

Community Living B.C., responsible for developmentally disabled adults, gets an additional $106 million over three years, and $20 million is added to the general budget for income assistance. Caseloads for both are expected to increase and individual payment rates stay the same.

This is also the budget that ends a two-year increase of 2.1 per cent in tax on income more than $150,000 a year. The provincial income tax rate for that tax bracket returns to 14.7 per cent, which de Jong said is part of the lowest personal income tax rates in the country.

At the low end of the income scale, the exemption from paying any personal income tax goes to the first $19,000 earned, up from $18,000.

An early childhood tax benefit begins April 1, with up to $660 a year for each child up to the age of six, designed to assist with child care costs.

This is also the year the province’s training and education savings grant begins to be paid out for children who reach six years old. It is a one-time payment of $1,200 born since Jan. 1, 2007, to be placed in a registered education savings plan.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the current fiscal year is expected to finish with a surplus of almost $900 million, due mainly to better than expected personal and corporate income tax revenues, strong retail sales and a one-time adjustment of federal tax payments.

After an additional $3 billion to the ever-growing health care budget and $576 million more for education over the next three years, the surplus for 2015-16 is projected to be $284 million.

VIDEO: Education funding increased for 2015-2018 budgets

Just Posted

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Evacuation orders lifted around Osoyoos Lake

An evacuation order lifted for 15 properties around lake

Flooding complicates summer fun, health authority warns

Avoid fast-flowing water such as creeks and rivers.

Record Okanagan cherry crop anticipated

BC Tree Fruit growers expecting crop of 12 million pounds due to ideal conditions

Oliver Woofstock to raise money for guide dogs

Visit Oliver Lions Park this Sunday for the Woofstock Pet Valu Walk for Guide Dogs

What’s happening

Find out what is happening around the valley this sunshine-filled May weekend

Unusually nasty odour repulses Chase residents

Village staff trying to get bacteria working in lagoons at sewage treatment plant

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Run for beer along Penticton’s Ale Trail

The second annual Penticton Beer Run takes place on June 2

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read