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

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

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Lake Country hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

A water outage to fix a hydrant valve is scheduled for Lake Country on Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (District of Lake Country image)
Lake Country water outage planned

Affects 20 properties on Seaton Road between Read Road and Chase Road from 9-2 Tuesday, Jan. 26

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read