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

Santa’s Light parade glides through town on Saturday

Vancouver Island’s most popular Christmas parade is back for its 36th year

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

Concert band brings music to Monterey

Night of Music with dinner and music is Nov. 23 at Monterey Recreation Centre

Oak Bay High junior girls claim city, Island volleyball titles

The team heads for provincials this week in Surrey to take on 32 other junior teams

CF-18 lowered the boom over Saanich Sunday

Plane was arriving in Victoria region from Boise, ID

Oak Bay light up steeped in tradition

Nov. 26 event kicks off Christmas in Oak Bay

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Most Read