Experts

Monday’s B.C. budget update to give education a boost: experts

WATCH: B.C.’s NDP government set to table its first budget update Monday. Experts predict education will be a big focus. Isabelle Raghem has a preview. 

As politicians return to the legislature Monday, British Columbians will learn more about how the NDP government plans to manage finances and what this means for the pockets of taxpayers.

“Tomorrow is a sneak preview really of a government in transition as we move out of 16 years of Liberal rule into a, who know’s how long it’ll last, but this new era,” said University of Victoria Political Science expert Michael Prince.

Finance Minister Carole James will deliver the first NDP budget update giving the province a taste of what’s to come.

“This idea of trying to make life a little more affordable for a lot of British Columbians will be a showcase theme for this budget,” predicts Prince.

That theme mentioned during Friday’s throne speech. Hints were also given as to what will be done with a $2.7 billion surplus left by the previous Liberal government.

A top priority: education. A key issue mentioned numerous times Friday.

“[In] the September budget update,” said Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon during throne speech, ” we’ll take our first step towards restoring proper funding for B.C. classrooms and give students the supports they need to succeed,” adding, “government will consider additional measures to reduce the burden on debt on post-secondary students.”

The updated cost of fighting fires is also expected to be revealed. The province saying fire fighting costs are already $389 million dollars over budget, with about a month left in the season.

Experts warn Monday’s reveal will be a lot of what British Columbians saw in the Liberal budget in February.

“The general bones of this budget will be very familiar I think,” said Prince, ‘[The NDP] are gonna disappoint some people because they can’t do everything so quickly. The throne speech said that fairly quickly, so tomorrow’s really the first act of a play.”

The main course comes in the new year in February, when the NDP serves up their first full budget.

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