Finance Minister Mike de Jong said he's disappointed with the slow job growth in B.C.

B.C. surplus won’t sweeten teacher offer

Forest fires costly this year, but tax and natural gas revenue have recovered to help boost surplus forecast to $266 million

VICTORIA – The B.C. government has increased its projected surplus for the year to $266 million, up $87 million from the July budget estimate.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said taxation and natural resource revenue are running ahead of projections, based on results of the first quarter of the fiscal year. That was offset by unexpected costs for flood control this spring and a forest fire season expected to be one of the costliest on record at $350 million.

The budget surplus is enough to provide a a pay increase and other improvements to striking teachers, but what the union is currently asking for amounts to $315 million more than the government is offering, this year and every subsequent year, the finance ministry calculates.

De Jong said giving in to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation demands, including their proposal for class size and special needs support, would equate to an increase of $140 a year for the average personal income tax, or 4.8 cents per litre in gasoline tax.

Increasing the government’s offer or gambling on the results of binding arbitration would have a ripple effect on other public service unions, both those who settled for less and those who still have to reach agreements under the government’s bargaining mandate, he said.

NDP critic Carole James said arbitration in the teacher case isn’t “opening the flood gates.

“In fact binding arbitration when the parties are close, will take a look at the pattern of settlements, will take a look at the money that’s on the table, will take a look at the two parties, and resolve this,” James said.

 

Just Posted

Chilliwack prolific offender wanted yet again

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan

One man, two women charged with stolen pickup downtown Chilliwack

None of the three have criminal history in B.C.

Chilliwack-Hope MP says new summer jobs grant application no longer includes ‘values test’

Those with anti-abortion beliefs left out last year because of requirement to respect the Charter

Agassiz Community Gardens hoping to find new home at old McCaffrey school

The society has been looking for a new location since its previous gardens were sold in October

RCMP asking for public input in upper Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison and Hope residents can share their thoughts on local policing

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Lower Mainland-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read