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British Columbia Finance Minister Kevin Falcon on Friday August 26, 2011. (Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press)
British Columbia Finance Minister Kevin Falcon on Friday August 26, 2011. (Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press)

Highlights of the B.C. budget Add to ...

Projected economic growth: 1.8 per cent in 2012-2013; 2.2 per cent in 2013-2014; 2.5 per cent in 2014-2015

Projected deficit: $968-million for 2012-2013; deficit this year, $2.5-billion.

Balanced budget: Budget balanced next year. B.C. projects a $154-million surplus for 2013-2014 and a $250-million surplus for 2014-2015.

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Tax increases: - MSP: A new, four per cent increase to medical service premiums.

Corporate taxes: The small business corporate tax rate was to drop to zero with the HST in place. Now, it will remain at 2.5 per cent. The general corporate income tax rate could increase by one point to 11 per cent effective April 1, 2014 if the increase is needed to ensure the budget is balanced. The decision will be announced in next year’s budget.

Goodies: - First-time home buyer tax credit: There will be an income tax credit worth $10,000 for first-time home buyers purchasing newly built homes. The bonus begins phasing out for individuals and families earning a net income of $150,000 and is eliminated completely for individuals earning $200,000 in net income and families earning $250,000 net.

Seniors renovation tax credit: Seniors will qualify for a tax credit worth up to $1,000 a year to renovate their homes to them to stay living there. It is available to seniors or family members sharing their home. The credit is available regardless of income.

Arts and sports credit for kids: A new credit to compliment existing credits offered by the federal government allowing families to claim up to $500 in eligible expenses per child, per year for eligible sports or arts programs.

Carbon tax review: There will be no further increases or expansions of the carbon tax, instead, the tax will be reviewed, including its revenue neutrality.

In the last two years, more money was returned in personal and business tax measures than the tax brought in. The margin will decrease starting this year and in 2013-2014, the amount returned in tax measures will equal the amount brought in revenue.

Health: Spending growth will be brought down from 4.8 per cent between the budget years ending 2010 and 2012 to 3.2 per cent for the years ending 2013 to 2015. Between 2006 and 2009, the average growth in spending was seven per cent.

Education: Spending growth will drop from 1.1 per cent between 2010 and 2012 to 0.6 per cent for 2013 to 2015. The average growth increase between 2006 and 2009 was 4.8 per cent.

Justice: $237-million more will be spent on the justice system over three years, including money for increased RCMP costs, court staff, sheriffs and prosecutors and $3-million over the next three years to fulfil an arbitration decision giving Crowns and other legal staff a benefits increase. Another $2-million will go for enhanced benefits for judges.

The budget predicts efficiencies in the justice area amounting to $22-million over three years. No money has been set aside for possible recommendations made by the current review of the justice system, due in June.

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