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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Local wakesurfers hit the podium, will compete at world championship

Local wakesurfers hit the podium during a national competition at Lake Okanagan… Continue reading

It happened in 1913

Sept. 20 - 26: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

A Winter’s Tale: Live theatre returns to Cranbrook with “Almost, Maine”

Cranbrook Community Theatre presentation, opening Friday, shows us how we leave each other, and how we make our way back

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read