B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks to the legislature’s pre-Christmas session to approve more COVID-19 spending, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks to the legislature’s pre-Christmas session to approve more COVID-19 spending, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

Rising income, real estate tax hold B.C. deficit at $13.6 billion

Cost of next COVID-19 payments up to $1.7 billion

B.C.’s deficit is forecast to rise to a record $13.6 billion for the current year, with some signs of recovery offsetting another $2 billion round of COVID-19 spending debated in the legislature this week.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson released the province’s second quarter economic update Dec. 17, two months late as the government struggles to keep up with the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. It shows an increase in the forecast deficit, $850 million higher than the first quarter forecast. B.C.’s economy is now expected to shrink by 6.2 per cent for 2020, with a “partial recovery” forecast for 2021.

The cost of sending $1,000 in borrowed money to almost all B.C. households whether they lost income in the pandemic or not, an October election promise from Premier John Horgan, is offset by better-than-forecast income tax and property transfer tax revenue, as well as gains in net income for Crown corporations such as B.C. Hydro and ICBC.

Estimated cost of the payments has been revised upward, from $1.45 billion in the NDP election platform to $1.7 billion in the latest update. It pays $1,000 to families with 2019 income up to $125,000, and $500 for single individuals who made up to $67,500 last year. Reduced payments are to go to families earning up to $175,000 and individuals making up to $87,000 in 2019.

B.C.’s export revenues are down eight per cent so far this year, but the forecast for natural resource revenue has increased by $156 million, mainly due to increased prices for lumber and natural gas.

The biggest boost to forecast revenues is $479 million more in property transfer tax, driven by rising real estate prices and an active market in recent months. Commercial Crown net income is revised upward by $363 million from the first quarter.

“ICBC net income is up $324 million, mainly due to savings from lower claims costs, Liquor Distribution Branch net income is up $35 million, reflecting a shift in consumption to home purchases, and this is partly offset by weaker B.C. Lottery Corp. income due to temporary casino closures,” Robinson told reporters Dec. 17.

RELATED: ICBC applies for 15% rate decrease as lawyers pushed out

RELATED: B.C. tourism calls for ‘bridge’ recovery from COVID-19


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read