More money for education coming to corridor: McIntyre 

‘Stay tuned’ for announcements regarding infrastructure spending

The provincial government's decision to stay the course on funding health and education in its just released budget is good news for the Sea to Sky corridor said Liberal MLA Joan McIntyre.

"All the announcements related to health and education affect us," she said.
For the K to Grade 12 the budget increased the per capita student allowance to $8,242. That's particularly good news as the Sea to Sky region continues to see an overall decline in enrollment.

However, the B.C. Teachers Federation took aim at the government's failure to address class sizes through the budget.

"It has been more than three years since the strike and things are worse today for B.C. students," said BCTF president Irene Lanzinger.

"The B.C. Liberal government promised action but they never provided the funding or plan to get the job done. After years of delay and stalling, teachers had hoped the B.C. Liberals would finally come forward with a plan."

McIntyre also pointed to the government's continuing financial support of post secondary institutions, an important issue for Squamish now that Capilano has university designation.

The Liberals, said McIntyre, are keeping everyday people at the forefront of their financial planning.

"We are continuing to invest at a high level in our human resources," she said.

The budget, released Tuesday afternoon, also touted the government's infrastructure spending, with is expected to reach $14 billion and create up to 88,000 jobs across the province.

Sea to Sky has had Highway 99 upgrading as a boon to its infrastructure job creation over the last three years but that project is coming to a close.

Asked if there are other infrastructure projects coming our way McIntyre said: "Stay tuned because I think there will be a number of announcements, though I don't know the details yet."

McIntyre is hoping that the Sea to Sky corridor will weather the global economic downturn better than most thanks to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"The spending between now and 2010 related to the 2010 Games is estimated to be between $3 and $4 million a day into the B.C. economy and I have to believe that our corridor is a significant beneficiary of that," she said.

Over the next three years, health-care funding will increase by $4.8 billion. By 2011-12, total provincial health spending will be $17.5 billion - an increase of 65 per cent since 2001.

Operating funds for K-12 schools will climb by $73 million in the coming fiscal year, for a total of about $5.1 billion. The budget invests $228 million over three years in post-secondary education to enhance access to institutions, expand health education programs, and fulfill the commitment to increase the number of trained physicians in B.C.

As allowed by the recently amended Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act, Budget 2009 includes a "temporary" deficit for two fiscal years due to the impact of the global economic crisis on provincial revenues. The deficit is forecast to be $495 million for 2009-10 and $245 million for 2010-11, with a return to balanced budgets by 2011-12.

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