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Yukon government tables biggest budget in territory's history

As expected, Yukon government's proposed budget for this fiscal year is big. At about $1.37 billion, it's the biggest in Yukon's history, with 84 per cent of that coming from federal transfers and other sources.

Chamber of commerce says capital construction will boost economy in wake of mining downturn

The Yukon government announced it's 2015/16 budget on Thursday.

At about $1.37 billion, the budget tabled by the Yukon government Thursday afternoon is the biggest in the territory's history, although only a small amount of that is contributed by Yukoners. Eighty-four per cent of the budget revenue comes from federal contributions and other nominal sources. 

The capital budget is also the biggest in history. The government says its $312 million capital budget "... is all about putting Yukoners to work at a time when one of the territory's economic mainstays, mining, is experiencing a downturn."

Construction projects

Many large capital projects have already been announced by the government.

Some of the bigger projects under the health budget include the controversial $26 million continuing-care facility slated for Whistle Bend, the new Sarah Steele addictions treatment facility for $16 million (this fiscal year) and a new $10 million Salvation Army homeless shelter, all in Whitehorse. 

Some notable project in the communities include $3.5 million for an RCMP detachment in Faro, $2.7 million for a new community and recreation centre in Old Crow and that same amount for a learning centre in Carcross. There's also $775,000 for the planning a Klondike Paleontology Centre in Dawson City.

Peter Turner, the president of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, says all those capital projects will create a lot of construction jobs and benefit the territory in the long run. 

"Even though at the moment we have perhaps a slow mining industry, we'll have some better infrastructure in place if things start to heat up over the coming years," he says. 

Money in the 'jeans' of taxpayers

The Yukon government has introduced some income tax revisions. 

A tax break will save the approximately 19,500 taxpayers in the territory a total of $5 million, apart from the handful of earners who make more than $500,000. 

The government will increase the Yukon Child Benefit, which about 1,200 families currently receive. It's also matching the federal government's children's fitness tax credit.

Under it's proposed budget, the Yukon government anticipates a surplus of $23 million at the end of this fiscal year. 

The 2015/16 budget will be debated in the legislature in the coming months. 

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