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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

One staff member tested positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village. (Google)
Outbreak declared over at Maple Ridge Senior’s Village

This is the second COVID-19 outbreak for the long-term-care facility

The slide happened in November of 2018. (Special to The News)
Slippery slope has Albion community centre neighbours upset

City’s excavations caused landslide on neighbouring property

Cathy Barrington plays the drums and sings with various jazz and blues bands. But she is known in the school district as the singing secretary. (Special to The News)
Singing secretary at Maple Ridge elementary school leaves on a high note

Cathy Barrington, whose rendition of At Last went viral online, has retired

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden arrives at U.S. Capitol for inauguration

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read