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

Aspiring musician lends talent to help schools

Jessica Singleton to do a pair of benefit concerts for Carmi and Uplands

33 Oliver-area homes evacuated

Flooding concerns result in evacuations

South Okanagan community taking action on fire prevention

Community working to prevent a repeat of last summer’s wildfire

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Penticton credit union looks to shred identity fraud

Document shredding event hosted by Valley First on Saturday

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

Farmers’ Market back in business for another season

The annual Penticton Farmers’ Market was back on the street again Saturday.

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Most Read