February 19, 2016
10 things to know about the 2016/17 provincial budget:
1. Buyers of newly-built homes worth up to $750,000 will be exempt from the property transfer tax, saving up to $13,000, effective Wednesday (only for Canadian citizens or permanent residents).
2. The new home tax exemption will only apply to people who actually live in the home as their principal residence for a year after the purchase (relatives do not qualify) and B.C. will share information with Revenue Canada to double-check whether the rules are being followed.
3. Homes (both new and used) sold for more than $2 million will see an increased property transfer tax of 3 per cent, up from 2 per cent.
4. The existing first-time homebuyers program for used homes remains in place, but the threshold is unchanged for properties worth less than $475,000.
5. Property buyers will need to disclose their citizenship for government tracking.
6. MSP premium rates will rise $3 per month for an adult to $78, starting in 2017, but children are now exempt.
7. The special discounted MSP rate for couples is eliminated, adding $14 a month to a family with two adults.
8. Taxpayer-supported debt is budgeted to rise to $43.2 billion, which means 3.7 cents of every dollar government earns it pays in debt servicing.
9. The $47.5 billion budget next year will have an estimated surplus of $264 million. The economy is expected to grow 2.4 per cent.
10.Income assistance for those on disability will rise $77 a month, except for those who already receive a bus pass or transit assistance. It's the first increase in the rate in nine years. The overall welfare rate remains unchanged.