Income tax pushes B.C.’s surplus to $5B above estimate, finance minister says

Faster-than-expected economic recovery has pushed British Columbia’s operating surplus to $5 billion more than estimated in the last quarter, according to the province.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson said Friday much of the added surplus comes from higher personal and corporate income taxes, while sales taxes and natural gas royalties were also higher.

The minister said the operating surplus of $5.7 billion, up from $706 million, puts the province in a “significant surplus position,” to continue using its resources to deliver results on housing, public safety, health care and climate change.

“We will use these dollars we have to invest in things people need. We’re in a strong position to continue making thoughtful decisions,” she told a news conference.

Robinson said $2 billion of the added revenue has already been earmarked for cost-of-living measures announced since the summer.

Those include $1 billion for the Climate Action Tax Credit and B.C. Affordability Credit increases, $395 million for car insurance rebates and $320 million for a one-time electricity bill credit.

Since being sworn in on Nov. 18, Premier David Eby has made several spending announcements, including pledging $230 million in police funding to hire hundreds more officers.

Eby has said the B.C. economy is doing well and the province’s budget can cover the cost of his latest plans.

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