Surprise surplus: B.C. up $5B more than expected due to higher taxes, minister says

Surprise surplus: B.C. up $5B more than expected due to higher taxes, minister says

VICTORIA – Faster-than-expected economic recovery has pushed B.C.’s operating surplus to $5 billion more than estimated in the last quarter.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson says much of the added surplus comes from higher personal and corporate income taxes, while sales taxes and natural gas royalties were also higher.

Robinson says $2 billion of the added revenue has already been earmarked for cost-of-living measures announced since the summer.

Those include $1 billion for the Climate Action Tax Credit and BC Affordability Credit increases, $395 million for car insurance rebates and $320 million for a one-time electricity bill credit.

Robinson says the operating surplus of $5.7 billion puts B.C. in a strong position to continue using its resources to deliver results on housing, public safety, health care and climate change.

Since being sworn-in one week ago, Premier David Eby has made several spending announcements, including pledging $230 million in police funding to hire hundreds more officers.

Eby also promised to spend millions for more RCMP officers, initiated a public safety campaign and has arranged a $100 credit for residents on their electricity bill from the Crown utility.

The premier has said the B.C. economy is doing well and the province’s budget can cover the cost of his latest plans.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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