BY AMAN SINGH
NDP MLA for Richmond-Queensborough
B.C. has had a strong recovery following the pandemic – but we know that some people are still struggling to keep up with rising costs from global inflation.
That’s why the 2023 budget our government released last week is determined to help bear some of the costs while advancing priorities that will strengthen communities across the province. Major investments in housing, health and the environment will give some relief here and now while serving people in the future.
Richmond is a rapidly growing community, and many people are choosing to call our vibrant city home. I’ve received many calls and emails from community members concerned about finding an affordable home. We know this is a major issue, and by working proactively on a housing strategy, our government is laying the groundwork to get thousands of people into more affordable homes.
Renters will also see direct support from this budget, including a renter’s tax credit of up to $400, increased investment in the BC Rent Bank, and more broad support from additional funds for the Residential Tenancy Branch to help tenants resolve disputes faster.
We are also investing directly into Richmond’s community and infrastructure. People can look forward to the seismic upgrades at James Whiteside Elementary and William Bridge Elementary being completed this year, as well as the continuation of work to redevelop Richmond Hospital, and improving highway infrastructure so people can get around. These investments aren’t just monetary – we can expect that this will bring in over 10,000 jobs over their lifetime.
Healthcare for people is still top of mind. Through Budget 2023, we are dedicating funding for nurses, and healthcare professionals while also investing in initiatives to reduce wait times for people. An additional $1 billion will support treatment for those suffering from mental health and addictions issues.
As we experience the effects of climate change, holding heavy emitters to account is more important than ever, but normal households shouldn’t have to bear that cost. As Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, I’m pleased see that most households in B.C. will be able to receive a higher Climate Action Tax credit. People can receive up to an additional $447 a year, which will put money back into people’s pockets while tackling climate change.
Our BC NDP government is focused on making life more affordable for people and their families. With historic childcare fee reductions, affordability credits, reducing ICBC rates, and so many more initiatives, we are working to reduce costs of living. By investing in British Columbians and laying the foundation for a more sustainable economy, we will weather the storm together and work towards a stronger B.C.