B.C. budget still raiding ICBC piggy bank

Auto insurer's annual 'dividend' to the province $200m but forecast to decline

Although the 2014 provincial budget is balanced, Finance Minister Mike de Jong is still pulling a controversial yearly dividend out of ICBC to help stave off the red ink.

The annual transfer from the public auto insurer’s optional insurance profits to the province is expected to be $200 million in 2014, $155 million in 2015 and $125 million in 2016, according to budget documents.

Critics have long denounced the transfers as an inappropriate raid on ICBC profits and say motorists should get any dividends – in the form of lower rates.

“For too long government has been addicted to the ICBC revenues and has conveniently forgotten that drivers and taxpayers are not the same people,” said Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“They’re taking money from drivers and giving the benefits to all people, which is unfair.”

The annual transfers are down from $576 million in 2010 – when they began – and were expected to be $237 million for the 2013 fiscal year.

Bateman said the CTF had called on the province to wean itself off the ICBC dividends over 10 years and said it looks like that’s starting to happen.

“It would be great to see them get off the ICBC dole tomorrow but that would blow the budget contingency fund out the door,” he conceded.

First-time home buyers are in line for some tax relief from the budget.

The threshold at which they must pay B.C.’s Property Transfer Tax was raised from $425,000 to $475,000. Realtors lobbied for the change, which provides a break of up to $7,500 on the purchase of a new home for those eligible.

At the same time, the province reduced the threshold for the phase-out of the homeowner grant to $1.1 million, meaning owners of homes worth more than that may pay higher property tax bills.

Just Posted

Aldergrove team could return as all-stars on ‘The Amazing Race Canada’

Mother and daughter duo given a second chance, though their fate rests in the hands of voters

PHOTOS: City of Langley library celebrates India’s festival of color

Kids were invited to learn about Holi celebrations, and taste treats.

Aldergrove glow-in-the-dark swim and games for a cause

Township of Langley will celebrate Earth Hour with its first glow-in-the-dark swim in Aldergrove.

Sources Langley Food Bank can’t find a home

Landlords don’t want to rent to the food bank and time is running out

Coach of the year in first season with the Giants

Michael Dyck is being lauded by the Western Hockey League for transforming the junior hockey team

VIDEO: UPDATE: Stolen Bentley nearly causes crash going wrong way on Coquihalla

Owner of Bentley says the vehicle was stolen Thursday and he wants it back

Six ‘distraction thefts’ in two days spark warning to seniors by Vancouver police

Distraction thefts are used to steal jewelry off the necks of unsuspecting women

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

South Surrey mother guilty of second-degree murder in death of daughter

Lisa Batstone killed eight-year-old Teagan in December 2014

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read