COLUMN: Four consecutive balanced budgets

By promoting and guiding economic growth in our province, we are able to invest $1.6 billion over the next three years into new spending.

By promoting and guiding economic growth in our province, we are able to invest $1.6 billion over the next three years into new and increased spending.

Some of the significant investments highlighted in Budget 2016 include new and increased services to help families and individuals with their cost of living, as well as measures to bolster and protect rural communities across the province.

Communities and residents in Cariboo-Chilcotin will benefit from several initiatives aimed at rural B.C.

We are protecting communities and citizens by setting aside $85 million to establish a new organization — the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. — that will work toward wildfire prevention and mitigation through forest fuel management, reforestation and habitat restoration.

There is $10 million for the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative for Community Wildfire Protection Plans, fire-smart planning activities and fuel management projects.

There will be enhanced property tax relief for those who provide tourist accommodation in our riding.

Agriculture is an important economic driver in the Cariboo and Chilcotin. There is a new Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit that is worth 25 per cent of qualifying agricultural products donated to a registered charity providing food to those in need or help a school meal plan.

And the new three-year, $75-million Rural Dividend program takes effect this year to help rural communities reinvigorate and diversify their economies.

For our seniors, we have expanded the Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit is expanded to include persons with disabilities.

With this budget, we are able to provide more services and help ease the cost of living for people in the Chilcotin-Cariboo.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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