In its 2020 budget, the BC government has laid the groundwork for the province’s largest-ever infrastructure plan. The budget also promises new initiatives to offer British Columbians relief for tuition and childcare costs, and a new tax bracket for the province’s highest income earners. Here are the new and notable measures found in Budget 2020:
- Highest capital spending in the province’s history
$22.9 billion has been allocated over three years, with a focus on health care facilities, highways and transit, education and housing. BC is expected to add over a million residents in the next 15 years, and the infrastructure spending is intended to respond to the needs of the province’s growing population.
- BC Child Opportunity Benefit
This new benefit, which launches in October, means families with two children could save up to $28,000 annually in childcare costs when combined with the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit and Fee Reduction Initiative for childcare spaces.
- Creation of new needs-based BC Access Grant
This grant, aimed at removing barriers to education, offers up to $4,000 to help with up-front costs of college or university tuition for low- and middle-income students.
- Incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles
The budget includes an additional $419 million over three years for CleanBC ¾ including incentives to buy electric vehicles and build EV charging stations.
- $13 million for new forestry revitalization efforts
The province is aiming to shore up the province’s forestry sector with a focus on waste wood utilization and efficiency, and look toward the bio-economy with a spotlight on biofuels, bioplastics and textiles.
- Indigenous Focus
A new revenue-sharing agreement will see $3 billion in gaming revenues shared with First Nations. Funds have also been allocated toward addressing ongoing issues in the child protection system, investing in Indigenous health centres, and making K-12 education more reflective of Indigenous experiences.
- No more PST exemption on soft drinks
Carbonated drinks that contain sugar or sweeteners will be subject to the 7% provincial sales tax beginning July 1st, 2020.
- New tax bracket for top 1% of individual income earners
The tax rate on the province’s highest income earners (earning over $220,000) jumped from 16.8% to 20.5%, effective January 1st, 2020. The tax increase will bring in an additional $216 million to the provincial coffers next year, and, according to the Province, over half of this will come from individuals earning over $1 million annually.
With tax season fast approaching, you’d be well advised to consider how to minimize your taxable income and maximize savings. Contact your DMCL advisor to get started.