Province digs deeper into ICBC, Hydro piggy banks

B.C. budget pulls more cash from Crown corporations, MSP fees

The B.C. government intends to pull more money out of ICBC in the years ahead.

The annual dividend from the public auto insurer – which goes into general government revenue despite repeated demands from critics for lower premiums instead – is estimated at $160 million a year in each of 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to budget documents.

That’s an increase from estimates of $155 million for 2015 and $125 million for 2016 in last year’s budget.

By the end of 2017, the province will have raided $1.5 billion from ICBC coffers since 2010.

The money comes from the profits on ICBC’s optional insurance side, which can’t be used to reduce basic auto premiums because the two sides of the business are segregated.

Critics accused the government of building its budget surplus by having Crown corporations like ICBC and BC Hydro charge customers more than is required and then transfer funds.

Electricity rates are rising six per cent while BC Hydro’s net income – most of which is remitted to government – climbs from $549 million last year to about $700 million by 2017. The province has promised to eventually reduce and eliminate the Hydro transfers.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation was critical of the latest 4.2 per cent increase in Medical Service Premiums, calling it a continuing tax hike that exceeds inflation.

A family of three will pay $150 per month in MSP premiums, up 40 per cent in five years.

The pattern of service fee increases and income tax restraint is a recurring one in B.C. budgets.

But New Democrats say it’s particularly unfair this year because of the government’s decision to reduce the income tax for the wealthy earning more than $150,000 a year.

“Instead of giving a break to families who are struggling, the B.C. Liberals singled out the top two per cent of income earners for a $230 million tax cut,” said NDP leader John Horgan.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the higher tax bracket  was created as a temporary measure two years ago to shore up the budget and it’s being eliminated on schedule, as promised. 

ICBC GOV’T DIVIDENDS | Create infographics

Just Posted

Thomas Haney team builds tiny house

Students spend two years building tiny house during shop class

Pitt Meadows council looking at 5.53 per cent budget increase

Budget deliberations include adding another cop this year, and every three years

Host Marauders win tournament championship

Edge Okanagan Mission 72-63 in sr. boys’ final.

Man paralyzed when tree fell on truck in Pitt Meadows

Freak accident during December wind storm

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Slippery roads reported along Coquihalla

The winter weather is finally here in the Central Okanagan

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

South Surrey mother ‘never called 911’ after killing daughter, court hears

Crown submits evidence shows Lisa Batstone wanted eight-year-old Teagan to die

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Most Read