Peace Region financial consultations fast approaching

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With the release of the 2016 Budget Consultation Paper, British Columbians are again being invited to share their priorities for the next provincial budget, set to be released next February 16th.

The all party committee of the legislative assembly will be in Dawson Creek on September 30th and in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson on October 7th.

The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services began a series of seventeen public hearings this week in Victoria, and three of them will be in the Peace-Liard Region.

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The Fort St. John hearing is scheduled to be held in video-conference room 183 at the Northern Lights College from 9 AM to 12 PM.

The consultation paper provides information about taxes, employment and investments in priority programs like health care, education and job training.

Those wishing to participate can do so at a community public hearing, by making a written, audio or video submission, or by completing an online survey.

The consultations offer BC residents the chance to share their priorities for next year’s budget with the government and you can learn more online.

The deadline for submissions is midnight October 15th, and the committee will release a report on its consultation process in November.

The hearings will conclude in Surrey on October 13th and this year’s consultations have been adapted to accommodate the fall sitting of the Legislature which is set to begin September 28th.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says the government remains on target to post a surplus this year, despite being hit with 380-million dollars in forest firefighting costs, more than six times higher than forecast.

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He claims they’ve been offset by stronger income and property tax revenues, which are up by $374 million, and first-quarter estimates released this week project a surplus of $277 million this fiscal year – down, but only slightly, from the $284 million forecast in February.

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