Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Renters' rebate absent from 2019 provincial budget

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced the 2019 budget Tuesday, and while new funding was announced for schools, hospitals, and will bring an end to student loan interest, the promised rebate for renters was noticeably absent.

The NDP government had promised a $400 rebate for the province’s renters in the run-up to the 2017 election, but James says that while it isn’t part of the current budget, they had not yet given up on the pledge.

“It’s something we’re working on with our Green colleagues,” said James, pointing to a “number of moves” already implemented to help tenants.

The rebate was not included in the 2018 budget either, and BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson attacked Premier John Horgan last September over his failure to deliver the rebate.

"He's the guy that promised a $400 rebate that's disappeared into thin air," Wilkinson said in 2018.

One new program in Tuesday’s budget is B.C.’s first provincially funded rent bank program, which the finance minister said will provide last-minute relief to struggling tenants.

“Renters on the brink of eviction will be able to get an immediate short-term loan, because no one benefits when families are thrown out onto the street,” said James in her speech.

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