B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announces changes to strata corporation laws at the B.C. legislature, June 23, 2020. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: B.C. moves to allow three years of budget deficits

Carole James and cabinet to take 10-per-cent pay cut

The B.C. government has moved to give itself room for up to three years of budget deficits, with $5 billion in extra spending already committed for the current year to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Carole James introduced legislation June 24 that authorizes deficit spending that is a certainty for the current fiscal year and likely to extend further, with relief payments, rent supplements and deferred sales and other tax payments throwing the province’s budget deep into the red.

The legislation makes official a $1,000 one-time, tax-free payment to those who have lost work due to COVID-19 restrictions and qualified for employment insurance. It also extends eligibility to those who filed federal employment insurance claims between March 1 and March 15. Almost 600,000 B.C. residents have been approved for the B.C. payment since applications opened in May.

There is no change to the existing provision that running a deficit in any B.C. government ministry results in a pay cut of 10 per cent for the minister involved. That means James and the rest of cabinet will see a reduction in their salaries, which are currently $166,536.29 per year.

Basic compensation for MLAs is currently $111,024.19, with a 50 per cent premium for serving in cabinet or as Speaker. Premier John Horgan gets a 90 per cent premium on basic pay, bringing his current salary to $210,945.96.

FEB. 18: James tables balanced budget with new top tax bracket

APRIL 23: James prepares relief payments, rent subsidies

The new legislation, called the Economic Stabilization Act, formalizes moves the government has made since the pandemic began, including postponing commercial property tax payments until Oct. 1. Filing and paying employer health tax, provincial sales tax, hotel tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax has also been deferred to Sept. 30.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Volunteers pull off late-night eagle rescue in Salmon Arm

Bird bound for a rehabilitation centre in Delta

Salmon Arm firefighters respond to nighttime garage blaze

Residential structure fire at Canoe property quickly extinguished

Shuswap River levels declining but remain ‘unseasonably high’

Users warned that some recreational activities common this time of year may not yet be safe

Morning Start: There are over 200 dead bodies on Mount Everest

Your morning start for Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Missing Lake Country man found safe

The 65-year-old, reported missing July 4, has been located safe and sound

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

LETTER: Summerland’s solar project should be scrapped

Flaws and objections have been raised

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

B.C. tent camps persist as hotels, housing bought for homeless

Current estimate 40 camps, homeless counts stalled by COVID-19

VIDEO: Trio of orphaned Alberta grizzly bear cubs find new home at Vancouver zoo

The Alberta cubs’ mother was killed by hunters and would have otherwise been euthanized, zoo says

Most Read