Balanced Budget 2017 pays dividends

Across the country, British Columbia stands out in many ways. With the country’s lowest unemployment, highest job creation and highest economic growth, we are in the enviable position of enjoying a thriving economy.

We didn’t get here by accident – British Columbians worked hard, and government was careful with our spending. Thanks to these efforts, we are able to fund new investments while giving back to those who have worked so hard to get us here.

Last week, our government released Balanced Budget 2017 – our fifth-consecutive balanced budget. Among various highlights, this budget takes the first step in eliminating MSP premiums – cutting them by 50 per cent for families with annual incomes of up to $120,000. It also includes $3 billion in funding for priority areas – like education, housing affordability and environmental protection – to ensure we are investing in our future as well as our present.

This year’s budget builds on our strong healthcare record, adding $4.2 billion to the Ministry of Health. This includes $100 million to enhance supports for mental health and substance use, particularly for youth.

We’re also taking steps to keep our economy strong, diverse and growing. By reducing the small business tax rate and phasing out the PST on electricity, we are ensuring B.C. remains a competitive place to do business.

I’m excited that Surrey residents will benefit from this budget – but really, these investments are only possible because of you. You worked hard to put us where we are today. When government enjoys a surplus – and takes more than we need – we recognize that money belongs to you, and deserves to be put back in your pocket where it belongs.