FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORTS ON BUDGET 2011 CONSULTATIONS

VICTORIA - The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released its report today on the Budget 2011 consultations. The report contains 59 recommendations for the next provincial budget, based on the 1,300 submissions received from the public.

"We heard many suggestions on how to spend additional resources for existing programs and services, as well as new ones, at the 17 public hearings and in the written and on-line submissions," said committee chair John Les, MLA. The report's recommendations relate to health services, the education system, services for children and youth, community services, resource management and the public's tax and fiscal priorities.

The committee's report urges the provincial government to consider:

* Keeping annual increases in health-care spending in line with the average growth of the provincial economy.

* Providing additional resources for research and outreach to community health services supporting patients with dementia, acquired brain injury, Parkinson's or ALS. * Reinvesting in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program.

* Reinstating a grants system targeted at under-represented groups in the post-secondary sector.

* Encouraging social entrepreneurship and investigating the use of social impact bonds.

* Allocating more resources for environmental protection and for natural resource industries.

* Exploring the feasibility of a home renovation tax credit.  

* Accelerating the return to a balanced budget.

"The committee received a lot of good ideas from British Columbians," added Les, "and we feel that the report reflects these priorities."

The budget consultations are held annually as part of the committee's mandate. Further information, as well as copies of the committee's report, is available online here.  See pp. 26-27.

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