[SURREY] British Columbia’s strong economy means more money back in the pockets of middle-class families in Surrey and investments in the programs and services people rely on most.

“This budget will add up to 5,200 new student seats in Surrey to address substantial student enrolment growth,” said Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender. “We have one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and this investment will make a big difference.”

“Funding in the budget for the new Grandview Heights Secondary School is going to provide an additional 1,500 students spaces,” said Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Stephanie Cadieux. “The school design will allow for future classroom additions to accommodate future growth.”

“This budget is centered around families and most people are going to benefit from a 50 percent reduction in MSP premiums,” said Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk. “This is just a first step towards the elimination of premiums all together. This means lots of money back in the pockets of British Columbian families.”

“A growing city needs a government that takes into account that growth,” said Surrey-Panorama MLA Marvin Hunt. “Through the Strategic Plan 2017 we know that this government does just that. Putting investments into 5,200 new seats opening in Surrey’s schools, SFU’s Surrey campus’ Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering Building, and a comprehensive affordable housing strategy accommodate Surrey’s future.”

“A fiscally smart plan that covers all the bases,” said Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg. “A plan that reduces MSP premiums and offloads students of heightened interest rates on student loans while still investing into the essentials of British Columbia. It is a win for all people of this Province.”

The centrepiece to Budget 2017 includes $1 billion in tax relief for middle-class families by cutting Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in half for individuals and families with a net income up to $120,000.  This is the first step as the Province begins to eliminate MSP premiums. A typical family of four paying full MSP premiums will save $900 per year in 2018 as a result of this measure.

Budget 2017 also makes key investments in areas like classrooms, mental health services, and other supports for those most in need.  The Government is also significantly increasing investment in healthcare – over $4.2 billion more over the next three years – to ensure British Columbians continue to receive the healthcare services they need.

Regional highlights that will benefit communities like Surrey include:

  • A new Grandview Heights Secondary School will provide 1,500 new student spaces in Surrey. The school design will allow for future classroom additions to accommodate future growth. Completion is expected in 2020.
  • Up to 5,200 new student seats in Surrey, with an investment of $217 million over the next three years to address the substantial enrolment growth in this area.
  • Construction of a new Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering building at the Surrey campus of Simon Fraser University for 515 students that will create jobs, expand research and foster innovation.
  • A portion of $4.3 billion for capital investments in health care facilities will include a significant investment in the Surrey Memorial Hospital Emergency Department/Critical Care Tower (total cost of direct procurement is $194 million).
  • Surrey Area Substation Project ($94M total cost).
  • Budget 2017 provides an additional $159 million to maintain assistance levels for low-income families and seniors, to help make rent more affordable in private market rental units. Services are also maintained for the homeless in the existing permanent shelter system.
  • $100 million more for mental health and substance use treatment, focusing on youth.
  • $65 million to fund 380 housing units in support of the homeless across B.C., including individuals with mental health and substance use issues.
  • Firefighters and Search and Rescue volunteers tax credit, a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit providing a benefit up to $151.80 each year.
  • $10 million for invasive plant management.
  • $6 million over three years to support the Buy Local program to support the continued growth of local demand for B.C. agrifoods.

Additional highlights of the budget include:

  • $796 million for children, families and those in need.
  • $740 million for the K-12 education sector, including $320 million to address the recent interim agreement with teachers.
  • More than $700 million for first-time homebuyers, building on $920 million for housing affordability and assistance.
  • $249 million for communities and economic development.
  • $149 million for parks and environmental protection.
  • $280 million for other programs and services.

Learn More:

For more details on Budget 2017, visit: www.bcbudget.ca