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

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Bike dragged several blocks after hit and run

Wheel-less bike dragged underneath van along Dallas Rd. after cyclist hit

Man arrested at gunpoint outside Vic High

Police were called after he allegedly threatened a teacher with a knife

Skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Central Saanich emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

Millstream Road closed to traffic at Bear Mountain Parkway

Downed hydro pole blocking both lanes at Industrial Way

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

Charges follow collisions between pickup and police vehicles in Nanaimo

Majore Jackson, 32, and Andrew John Bellwood, 47, from Nanaimo, face numerous charges

Most Read