B.C. teachers' strike: $266M budget surplus not for BCTF deal, says de Jong
Oil and gas revenues, income tax added $515M extra to provincial treasury
B.C.'s Finance Minister Mike de Jong says the province will have a larger revenue surplus than originally forecast, but the extra money won't be used to settle the ongoing teachers' strike.
- UPDATES | All the news on the B.C. teachers' strike
- Minister calls union move to end strike 'silly'
- B.C. budget 2014: 'Boring, balanced budget'
De Jong says first quarter results show the government is on track to book a $266 million surplus this year, $82 million more than originally forecast.
The surplus comes from $515 million in increased revenue, in part from natural gas royalties and income taxes.
But expenses are up as well by $433 million, in part to pay for forest fire fighting and emergency flooding programs this summer.
When asked if the extra revenue might be directed toward settling the teachers' contract dispute, as the B.C. Teachers' Federation has demanded, de Jong said that's not going to happen.
"I get that they are advocating for the interests of their members, and that's all they're doing and they really don't care where the money is coming from. It's my job, and our job, to care."
De Jong added that if government was to fund the teachers' demands from a single source of tax revenue, that would mean a $200 increase in property taxes for every B.C. homeowner or a 5-cent per litre hike to the gas tax.
He also confirmed the B.C. Legislature will hold a full fall session from Oct. 6 until Nov. 27.