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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

Petition to protect Mt. Begbie goes to the province

Petition calls for no development on the mountain until new land use plans created for Revelstoke

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services douses house fire Aug. 7

Investigators say probable cause was an unattended barbecue

UFO trackers set their sights on Revelstoke skies

Rob Freeman UFO World Explorer and crew went up Sale Mountain

Updated: Molotov cocktails thrown at Revelstoke home in arson attempt

The flames were extinguished before they spread. Two men have been arrested.

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

COVID-19 outbreak at South Okanagan farm declared over

There continues to be other community exposure events in the Interior Health region

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

COVID-19 exposure alert at Cactus Club in downtown Kelowna

Interior Health also announced another three cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna, bringing the total to 161

Most Read