VICTORIA — Highlights of British Columbia's 2019-20 budget presented Tuesday:
— A new Child Opportunity Benefit will replace an existing tax program for families next year, providing families with one child under the age of 18 with as much as $1,600, more than double what the old benefit provided.
— Interest is immediately eliminated on all new and existing student loans from the provincial govenrment, which means an average student would save $2,300 in interest, based on a combined federal and provincial loan of $28,000 being repaid over 10 years.
— A first-time revenue sharing agreement will provide First Nations with $3 billion over 25 years from provincial gaming revenue, with every Aboriginal government eligible for between $250,000 and $2 million annually.
— Support payments for foster and adoptive parents, as well as extended family members caring for childrean, are being increased at a cost of $85 million.
— Social assistance payments are going up by $50 a month, on top of the $100 monthly increase that was previously announced.
— Another 200 modular homes will be built for homeless people, bringing the total across the province to 2,200.
— The Clean BC climate plan will see $902 million spent to cut greenhouse gas emissions and offer incentives to help people retrofit their homes and purchase electric vehicles.
— A surplus of $274 million is projected for 2019-20, $287 million in 2020-21 and $585 million in 2021-22.
— The government expects to bring in $59 billion in revenue in 2019-20 and spend $58.3 billion.
— Economic growth is forecast to hit 2.4 per cent in 2019 and between two and 2.3 per cent next year.
The Canadian Press