Provincial budget has few pre-election goodies

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Finance Minister Mike de Jong says he'll boost health care premiums and raise income taxes for corporations and the wealthy to balance the province's books. The budget is forecast to have a surplus of 197 million dollars next year. De Jong says personal income taxes will increase by 2.1 per cent to 16.8 per cent, and corporate income taxes will rise to 11 per
cent from 10 per cent on April 1st.  De Jong says economic adversity has forced the government to depart from the type of tax cuts the Liberals introduced more than a
decade ago.

Reaction to Provincial Budget

The NDP's finance critic says he agrees with the one percent tax increases on high income earners and corporations that were announced in the budget. Bruce Ralston points out those were NDP ideas. He admits now that they're Liberal policies, it leaves little room for an NDP government to use the tax increases to fund new programs.  Ralston is promising to be more specific on what an NDP budget would look like when it announces its election platform.

Educators are not happy with the provincial budget. While the Liberal government has been touting its jobs plan, critics say the province isn't committing enough money to educate those heading into the labour force. Robert Clift is the Executive Director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C. Clift says a degree from a post secondary school in B.C. isn't as valuable as it used to be. Glen Hansman with the B.C. Teachers Federation says at this point British Columbia has the worst student to educator ratio in the country. In the budget the province has cut funding for advanced education by about 4 million dollars while K to 12 block funding has remained flat.

B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth says the provincial budget offers nothing to vulnerable children and families. Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond calls the government's budget increase for daycare "a pittance." Turpel Lafond says in reviewing the budget, it's hard to believe the government's claim that it puts family first.

Double homicide in West Kelowna

A late night double homicide outside a West Kelowna condominium complex has left many people living in the area in shock. RCMP say a black S-U-V crashed into the side of building just after 11 Monday night. Police found the bodies of 2 people in the vehicle. Investigators say they did not die in the crash. RCMP are have not said how they died, or released any information about the two victims. But they say one man was seen running from the area.

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