The following electronic version is for
informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
BUDGET 97: BROCHURE
Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations
Province of British Columbia
||Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations
Honourable Andrew Petter, Minister
Budget 97 Creating Jobs
Protecting Health Care
Message from Minister of Finance Andrew Petter
This budget is consistent with the priorities of British Columbians and is
based upon prudent economic assumptions.
We're delivering on our commitment to create jobs, protect health care and
education, and ease the burden on middle- and lower-income British
And we are achieving this in a fiscally responsible manner.
Yearly spending is down for the first time since 1958 -- and the projected
provincial deficit is the smallest this decade.
With the anticipated improvement in the economy this year, and a federal
commitment not to further reduce transfer payments, we are establishing a solid
foundation for the future.
The budget cuts the deficit by more than half of what it was last year. And our
financial management plan places us in position to put the budget in balance in
1998/99, and to achieve a surplus in the year that follows.
I'm confident the road we've chosen -- to protect job creation, health care and
education while reducing the deficit in a careful, prudent way -- is the right
one for the people of British Columbia.
Jobs Strategy for B.C.
A jobs strategy will support the creation of 40,000 new jobs this year,
building on the best job creation record in Canada. It includes:
- Investing $1 billion in schools, hospitals and transportation infrastructure
to create more than 13,000 jobs.
- 12,000 new jobs for young people through a $23-million Guarantee for Youth
- Pursuing a Jobs and Timber Accord with the forest industry with the goal of
creating 21,000 new forest sector jobs by 2001.
- Creating a new agency to promote tourism in partnership with the tourism
- Promoting growth in the airline industry through a phased reduction to the
international jet fuel tax rate from four cents per litre today to two cents
per litre by 1999.
- Encouraging small business job creation and continuing the income tax cut and
the income tax holiday for eligible new small businesses -- reducing costs by
- Working with B.C.'s high-growth film industry to expand opportunities and
encourage Canadian productions.
- Developing Fisheries Renewal BC to reinvest profits, conserve the fish
resource and protect jobs.
- Replacing welfare with training for young people through the $20-million
YouthWorks initiative, which will help 40,000 youth this year.
- Establishing a forum for business, labour and government to develop economic
strategies to generate employment, increase investment and protect
Protecting Health Care and Education
While overall spending is down, spending on health care and education is
- Health care is protected with an increase of more than $300 million to fund
hospitals, physician services and to reduce surgery wait lists.
- Education is protected with a $63 million increase in the K-12 school
- $300 million to build and improve public schools.
- 2,900 new spaces for students at universities and colleges.
- Tuition freeze is maintained to help B.C. students.
Supporting B.C. Families with Tax Cuts and Rate Freezes
Working British Columbians get help to make ends meet.
- Provincial income tax rate reduced another two per cent this year, building
on the two-per-cent cut last year -- more than $142 million annually
for B.C. families.
- The BC Family Bonus will provide $235 million in support for more
than 200,000 lower- and middle-income families.
- ICBC premiums, BC Hydro rates and post-secondary tuition fees remain
- Tax cuts and rate freezes mean the average B.C. family saves up to $700.
A Financial Management Plan
B.C.'s finances on a sound footing for the future
The budget includes a financial management plan to:
- Reduce this year's deficit to the smallest this decade.
- Balance the budget in 1998/99 and achieve a significant surplus in
- Set capital spending at $1.1 billion annually for the next three years.
- Cut B.C.'s debt ratio to 20 per cent of GDP over three years and reduce it to
15 per cent by 2015, as recommended by a private sector advisory group.
- Keep B.C.'s debt servicing costs, now under eight cents of every revenue
dollar, among the lowest in Canada.
Prudent economic assumptions
- While B.C.'s economy is forecast to grow 2.2 per cent this year, the budget's
revenue forecast is based on a prudent assumption of 1.6 per cent growth in the
Spending drops for the first time since 1958
- In 1997/98, the province will spend $100 million less than last year
-- the first decline on a year-to-year basis since 1958.
Deficit cut to smallest this decade
- 1997/98 projected deficit is $185 million -- less than one-half the
size of last year's.
1997/98 Budget at a Glance
Revenue = $20.286 billion
Spending = $20.471 billion
Projected deficit = $185 million
-- lowest this decade.
BC Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations
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