NDP warns of summer subterfuge with B.C. legislature resuming

Horgan says "bogus" budget being pushed through "while people are at the beach".

NDP house leader John Horgan

VICTORIA – The B.C. legislature resumes with a brief throne speech on Wednesday and an updated budget Thursday that will be the focus of opposition critics in a month-long summer session.

NDP house leader John Horgan said the government’s plan is to push a “bogus” budget through “while people are at the beach,” and then continue the B.C. Liberal tradition of skipping scheduled fall sessions in October and November.

Horgan said the government’s target to limit health care spending growth to less than one per cent hasn’t been achieved since former premier Bill Bennett’s restraint program in the early 1980s.

“At some point the reality has to hit the road, and this is why, I believe, they have jammed us in here in July, rather than having a more thoughtful session starting in September, when their [spending authority] runs out,” Horgan said.

Finance Minister and B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong hasn’t ruled out a fall sitting of the legislature. He promised “no surprises” during the rare summer sitting, which the government intends to wrap up by July 25.

De Jong said he will update resource revenues that have changed since the current budget was introduced in February, and independent economic forecasts that have downgraded projections for B.C. economic growth since then. A smaller surplus will be forecast as a result.

After a series of deficits since 2009, the February budget projected a surplus of $197 million for the fiscal year ending in March 2014.

That is to be reached with an increase in the corporate income tax rate from 10 to 11 per cent, a temporary 2.1 per cent increase in personal income tax above $150,000 a year, and a $2 per carton increase in tobacco taxes effective in October.

The government plans no new legislation in the summer session, or reintroduction of provisions for an election for B.C. senators and other bills that were left unpassed when the legislature adjourned for the May election.

Just Posted

Victoria painter splashes some colour on a dreary situation

Six-week long James Bay construction project gives Teresa Waclawik an impromptu canvas

Oak Bay fire latest hire comes from Kelowna

Darren Lee starts as assistant fire chief April 16 after coming from West Kelowna department

B.C. Transit to reduce service for spring

Route changes come in to effect April 9

Man arrested, charged in connection with stabbing at Langford Lanes

Twenty-year-old Austin Bonner has been charged with aggravated assault

Easter Bunny confirms plans to visit Oak Bay

6th Annual Oak Bay Easter Celebration brings Easter Bunny, egg hunt, and fun

Lilia Zaharieva wants to share her medical good fortune

UVic student wants treatment for cystic fibrosis made available for all

Golden Knights win 4-1, remain undefeated against Canucks

Vegas gets points from 12 players in dominating effort versus Vancouver

City of Victoria seeks artists to contribute to upcoming public exhibitions

Submissions for Commercial Alley gallery, bus shelter project due by April 9

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Plane filled with smoke lands at Nanaimo Airport

WestJet flight came in from Vancouver

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 20

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

Rescued Comox canoer credits those ‘at the right place, at the right time’

James Milne was rescued in a hypothermic state Sunday near Goose Spit

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

Most Read