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

VIDEO: Organization’s stolen wheelchair van recovered on backroad near Hope

Wheelchair accessible van is only transportation for some people in Hope and Fraser Canyon

Kennedy, Cartier Roads could see upgrade in Kent’s next budget

Residents living and working on Kennedy Road wrote to complain about the dust from the gravel

Police ask public’s help locating missing Hope woman

Penelope Leslie Lackey has not contacted her family since mid-June

Get a free sneak peek at modern ballet performance in Chilliwack

New ballet @giselle is putting the final touches on its show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Rescuers pluck climbers off rock face near Mt. Slesse

Chilliwack SAR team members used long-line suspension to assist climbers

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

New anti-drone tech deployed at Abbotsford Airshow

Operators could locate drones from up to 23 kilometres away

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Most Read