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B.C. Budget 2021: Five key takeaways for the innovation economy

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s NDP government tabled the first budget of its majority mandate Tuesday as the province works to control the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget, which had been delayed until after the start of the new fiscal year, projects an $8.1-billion operating deficit for 2020–21, an improvement of $5.5 billion from the fall economic update’s forecast of $13.6 billion. The rosier deficit forecast comes from better-than-expected revenues, including taxes from a strong housing market and retail sales, as well as “moderately” less spending. The document anticipates balanced budgets will return within seven to nine years, and expects to present a “specific timeline, approach and plan” in next year’s budget.

It also commits $8.7 billion in new spending over three years in an effort to include everyone in the economic recovery, which it admits will continue to be uneven. There’s more information on the province’s promised strategic investment fund, an expansion of its universal child-care plan and a boost to cleantech and local business.

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