DAILY NEWS Feb 25, 2013 4:11 PM - 0 comments

B.C. budgets spending on transit and schools

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Based on the B.C. Government's budget announcements last week, the next three years will see the province spending about the same as it is now.

Michael de Jong, the Minister of Finance, delivered the budget on February 19, saying they would "hold the line on spending with average annual growth of just 1.5% over three years."

At the same time, the government says it will be cutting close to $1.1 billion in expenses at Ministries and Crown agencies.

Capital spending over the next three years is expected to be $10.4 billion, including

$3.6 billion for transportation and rapid transit, and $1.5 billion on renovating or replacing K-12 schools, $19 billion for post-secondary institutions, specifically on Vancouver Island, Richmond, Kamloops and Victoria.

The province will also be spending $2.3 billion on health care infrastructure, such as on the B.C. Children's and Women's Hospital and on two new North Island Hospitals, the Lakes District Hospital and the Queen Charlotte/Haida Gwaii hospital.

Keith Sashaw, the new president of ACEC British Columbia, said they were "pleased" with the government's continuing commitment to infrastructure, noting: "While the budget shows some minor reductions in capital spending over a three year period, much of that is due to some major projects nearing completion.”

For the year 2013-2014, the projected spending by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, for example, is slightly less than for 2012-2013 i.e. estimated at $806.9 million last year, and projected at $803.3 million for the coming year.

The corporate income tax rate in the province will rise from 10% to 11%, while rates for personal income tax for those earning over $150,000 is rising 2.1% to 16.8%.

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