Province digs deeper into ICBC, Hydro piggy banks

B.C. budget pulls more cash from Crown corporations, MSP fees

The B.C. government intends to pull more money out of ICBC in the years ahead.

The annual dividend from the public auto insurer – which goes into general government revenue despite repeated demands from critics for lower premiums instead – is estimated at $160 million a year in each of 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to budget documents.

That’s an increase from estimates of $155 million for 2015 and $125 million for 2016 in last year’s budget.

By the end of 2017, the province will have raided $1.5 billion from ICBC coffers since 2010.

The money comes from the profits on ICBC’s optional insurance side, which can’t be used to reduce basic auto premiums because the two sides of the business are segregated.

Critics accused the government of building its budget surplus by having Crown corporations like ICBC and BC Hydro charge customers more than is required and then transfer funds.

Electricity rates are rising six per cent while BC Hydro’s net income – most of which is remitted to government – climbs from $549 million last year to about $700 million by 2017. The province has promised to eventually reduce and eliminate the Hydro transfers.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation was critical of the latest 4.2 per cent increase in Medical Service Premiums, calling it a continuing tax hike that exceeds inflation.

A family of three will pay $150 per month in MSP premiums, up 40 per cent in five years.

The pattern of service fee increases and income tax restraint is a recurring one in B.C. budgets.

But New Democrats say it’s particularly unfair this year because of the government’s decision to reduce the income tax for the wealthy earning more than $150,000 a year.

“Instead of giving a break to families who are struggling, the B.C. Liberals singled out the top two per cent of income earners for a $230 million tax cut,” said NDP leader John Horgan.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the higher tax bracket  was created as a temporary measure two years ago to shore up the budget and it’s being eliminated on schedule, as promised. 

ICBC GOV’T DIVIDENDS | Create infographics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Surrey RCMP make multiple arrests after reports of fight in Newton

Huge police response to reports of fight, possibly a gun, in the area of 82nd Avenue east of Scott Road

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Panorama Ridge Secondary reports third COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Surrey youth protest throne speech as part of Global Day of Action

Group marched to Liberal MP Randeep Sarai’s constituency office

White Rock writer in running for $6,000 accolade

Joseph Kakwinokanasum to learn Oct. 1 if his story, Ray Says, wins CBC Nonfiction Prize

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read