Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations
109 -- 617 Government Street
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1X4
PHONE (604) 387-3347 FAX (604) 356-2822
BUDGET '95 FACT SHEET
Affordable Investment to Keep B.C. Growing
Affordable investment in land, infrastructure and people is the key to continued economic growth and jobs, and protecting essential government services.
Without this investment, B.C. cannot compete in the global marketplace.
The 1995 budget makes this investment a fundamental priority. By running a surplus and controlling debt, the budget ensures that B.C. will be able to pay for needed services and capital investment.
The comprehensive debt management plan ensures that taxpayer-supported debt -- in relation to B.C.'s economy -- will be cut in half over the next 20 years.
B.C. will continue to have the lowest debt-servicing costs in the country, while making the capital investment needed to keep our economy growing and creating jobs.
Spending controls and better-than-expected revenues meant the government borrowed $1 billion less than projected during the 1994/95 fiscal year. And this year's borrowing for needed capital investment will be even less.
Taxpayer-supported debt will increase 3.5 per cent, less than the growth of the B.C. economy. This $730 million will be used to build new schools, health care facilities, and major infrastructure and transportation projects, such as the Vancouver Island Highway.
Positive Climate for Investment
- The private sector, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, create the jobs that support B.C.'s prosperity.
- Government's role is to provide a foundation on which jobs can grow. Government supports private investment by sound management of public finances, and through public investment in roads, ferries, local infrastructure and skills training for workers.
- British Columbia's financial record has won endorsement from the investment community and major bond-rating agencies -- B.C. has the highest credit rating of all the provinces and the lowest per-capita debt. By eliminating the provincial deficit one year ahead of schedule and by putting forward a comprehensive debt management plan to control the provincial debt, Budget '95 strengthens B.C.'s position even further.
- The government has undertaken major capital investment that makes it better to do business in B.C. Projects include improving the outdated, unsafe Vancouver Island Highway, unplugging traffic arteries throughout the lower mainland, upgrading the aging BC Ferries fleet, and the $103-million commuter rail project in the lower mainland.
Transportation and Local Infrastructure
- Investments in highways, roads, water and sewer projects around the province will support local economies and create jobs while meeting urgent needs for upgraded infrastructure.
- The province is participating in the second year of a joint program with federal and municipal governments to pay for much-needed upgrading of local water, sewer and road systems. British Columbia's share is $675 million, invested in all regions of the province.
Security for Forest Communities
- The government continues its initiatives to renew British Columbia's forests and provide job stability for forest-industry communities.
- The new Forest Practices Code, passed in the last session of the legislature, is changing the way B.C.'s forests are managed by setting new forest management standards with more effective enforcement. In 1995/96, the government is providing $35 million to support this important initiative.
- The Forest Renewal Plan, introduced last year, provides for unprecedented investment in British Columbia's forests, and in the communities and people who depend on the forests. Each year, about $400 million in fees -- paid by the forest companies -- will be available for investment.
- The Forest Renewal Plan will ensure good, family-supporting jobs for forest workers in the changing B.C. economy. Activities include repairing damaged watersheds, increasing reforestation, encouraging more value-added manufacturing, and retraining workers.
- Continued provincial investment will ensure the delivery of comprehensive and universal medicare in all parts of B.C., despite federal government offloading.
- This year's capital investment in hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities will be close to $300 million.
- The total budget for the Ministry of Health will increase by $252 million, to $6.6 billion.
- To provide health programs more cost-effectively, the New Directions initiative launched last year will continue. This year, a major de-centralization of health care administration will see 1,400 staff positions transferred from the Ministry of Health headquarters to regional health boards and community health councils.
- Administration of the Pharmacare program will be streamlined to save $37 million. Administrative costs in the Ministry of Health will be cut by $19 million.
Education and Skills for the Real World
- Provincial funding will increase for education and training to prepare students for productive jobs. By enhancing the skills of our workforce, this initiative will increase opportunities for British Columbians to get and keep good jobs.
- The government inherited a backlog of unfulfilled needs for schools and post-secondary institutions. Over the past three years, that backlog has been addressed by investing $1.2 billion in schools and $700 million in colleges and universities, creating 15,000 new spaces for post-secondary students.
- Budget '95 includes $3.4 billion for the elementary and secondary school system, a 4.4 per cent increase.
- Funding is also provided to add almost 4,800 new spaces at universities and colleges, including 500 spaces at Royal Roads.
- The Skills Now training plan, launched last year, will continue to give working people the skills they need in a changing economy. An investment of $106 million will increase apprenticeship and work-experience in high-schools, strengthen technical education at the post-secondary level, retrain workers in their communities, and give people on income assistance the skills needed to gain employment.
Budget '95 (Province of B.C.)
This will take you back to the Finance and Corporate Relations Homepage
If you have questions or comments about content please contact: Communications