B.C. Budget 2009 focuses on infrastructure spending

Finance Minister Colin Hansen announced today that Budget 2009 supports infrastructure projects.

He says thousands of jobs and building opportunities will be available in every region of the province while providing stability and confidence for British Columbians by investing in health, education and social services.

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Budget 2009 will invest almost 14 billion dollars in infrastructure projects in every region of British Columbia. Mr. Hansen says the Province will move forward on its capital plan and partner with the federal government and municipalities to build and upgrade housing, hospitals, schools and roads. The new and accelerated investments are expected to generate as many as 88,000 jobs across B.C.

Over the next three years, health-care funding will increase by 4.8 billion dollars. By 2011/12, total provincial health spending will be 17.5 billion dollars – an increase of 65 per cent since 2001.

The budget maintains funding for kindergarten to Grade 12 education, resulting in per-student funding of 8,242 dollars, the highest level in B.C. history. The budget invests 228 million dollars over three years in post-secondary education to enhance access to institutions, expand health education programs, and fulfil the commitment to increase the number of trained physicians in B.C.

As allowed by the recently amended Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act, Budget 2009 includes a temporary deficit for two fiscal years due to the impact of the global economic crisis on
provincial revenues. Hansen says this is the responsible thing to do.

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The deficit is forecast to be 495 million dollars for 2009/10 and 245 million dollars for 2010/11, with a return to balanced budgets by 2011/12.

For more information on the budget, visit http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/ .

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