Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BC Budget - the party is over - and you will pay for it - social program & public sector workers to be slashed


Bill Tieleman’s 24 hours Column

Wednesday March 3, 2010

Wakey, wakey – the Olympic party is over – and you’re picking up the whole tab!

By Bill Tieleman

Too many people across B.C. are still feeling the effects of the downturn. Too many families are still struggling

- Finance Minister Colin Hansen

Wakey-wakey little B.C. taxpayer! The Olympic party is now over – and you are picking up the whole tab!

Let’s hope the good Winter Olympics feelings last longer than the bad vibe the B.C. Liberals’ budget will bring – because “struggling families” needed public services are going downhill fast.

And the allegedly business-competent government is actually losing, yes losing, money from its two new and hated taxes – the 7% Harmonized Sales Tax and the Carbon Tax!

How is it even possible to introduce new taxes - and take a loss?

Easy! The budget shows that in the upcoming 2010-11 year the HST - scheduled to add 7% more to goods and services July 1 - will actually lose $113 million dollars.

And the budget shows 2008’s carbon tax – which increases one cent a litre at the gas pumps on July 1 - will cost the government $69 million more than they take in, thanks to personal tax cuts that were supposed to make it “revenue neutral” but went too far.

It all adds up to $182 million in tax losses that will result in program cuts.

And that’s just the start. The $1.7 billion deficit budget is grim news for important social services ministries currently overwhelmed with the recession.

Despite the fact that British Columbia has had the highest rate of child poverty for six straight years, the Ministry of Children and Family Development will only see a miniscule 1.2% increase this year – and no increase projected whatsoever for the following two years.

Housing and Social Development gets a very modest increase of 1.9% this year followed by two years of actual cuts. So much for more social housing.

But the Forests and Range budget is cut by 37%, based mostly on the hope that no big forest fires happen this year – good luck!

Worried about the murderous drug gang wars still raging in Metro Vancouver?

Fuggettaboutit, the B.C. Liberals say – the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s budget goes up just $5 million – and then another $1 million two years from now. Be very scared, bad guys!

However, if you think big capital spending projects are way more important than helping poor children out of poverty – hey, this budget’s for you!

In the upcoming year B.C. will increase funding costs for capital expenditures by a whopping 124% - the single largest budget increase across government.

And at $1.75 billion that means financing charges are a whopping $417 million more than the entire Children and Family Development budget.

Hopefully some of those struggling children can find work on a capital project site – because they aren’t going to be getting any other help from this government.

The party’s over, your bill is now due and payable daily.

.


28 comments:

Gary E said...

The temptation here is to sit back and say "oh well we were expecting it"
Well this guy is as mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore.
I already wrote the BC Fed in anticipation of the Brass at Ferries possibly awarding themselves a fat bonus (for non performance) and/or more raises. In that email I advocated picket line at all the terminals.
I am now advocating a Provincial General Strike. And not like the last one. This time we stay out until all demands are met.
Are you hearing me Mr. Sinclair?
It's time to take back our lives.

SharingIsGood said...

I wouldn't mind it if all the PAB management and staff would get their pink slips.

Anonymous said...

The people of BC deserve whatever malice and evil befalls them now:

*since three times they voted for a sociopath with substance issues as their premier.

*they twice elected an "idiot" as their opposition leader.

*they get their truth and news from CanWest/Global and CTV, the Pravda & Isvestia of the evil-right-wing.

*and finally because they are just plain stupid for everything from the Olympics to Basigate.

So go and french-kiss the king cobra BC you really deserve to stew in your own melted lard.

The GREAT SATAN

Skookum1 said...

Worried about the murderous drug gang wars still raging in Metro Vancouver?

Just a quibble, Bill, unrelated to the subject matter but something that irks me a whole lot.....

"Metro Vancouver" is the name of the BOARD of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. It is not the name of the regional district. I know this is becoming increasingly common, and in my estimation was a re-branding with a hidden agenda towards regional amalgamation, and also no doubt to try and help Vancouver with its ongoing insecurity/inferiority complex about being a "world class city". "Metro" is a catchy term and we hear it on air as in "all over Metro the traffic was screwed up today"....a line that can comfortably be used in Toronto, Montreal or the HRM (Halifax is now officially "HRM", though that may change back). And sometimes I wonder if the whole thing was a marketing ploy by the Metro newspaper, or they've just come along for the free ride. Metro Vancouver, Metro Calgary....Metro Kelowna, Metro Victoria and Metro Medicine Hat are no doubt in the offing, too....One day the whole world will be Metro, and everywhere else presumably will be nowhere....

But in the particular case you've used it above, it's emblematic of the confusion between the idea of metropolitan Vancouver (small-case metro Vancouver) and the proper-name applied to the government of a specifically-defined regional district. But Abbotsford and Chilliwack are not part of that regional district, ergo, they are not part of "Metro Vancouver". Unless you mean "metro Vancouver" and are comfortable with a definition of that inclusive of the Central and Upper Fraser Valley.....(which people from LA or Toronto and maybe Prince George certainly would perceive Abby and Chilly-whack as being).....

They are in the Lower Mainland, and part of the metropolis comprising that region. But they are NOT part of "Metro Vancouver" - especially in the Metro Vancouver government's own definition of itself.

I really wish journalists wouldn't jump on rebranding bandwagons quite so blindly....it gives everyone else bad habits (e.g from the Sun's Toronto-spawned byline "seriously Westcoast" through to "you can't get more westcoast than this", to quote either Kim Cattrall or Sarah MacLachlan, whichever, off that stupid greenscreen-cliches tourism ad that ran during the Games).

Please use the term "Metro Vancouver" to refer only to the government/board of the GVRD. It really doesn't mean anything else. Except to people needing to feel all modern and sophisticated about "VanCity" (which in my day meant only the credit union.....).

Bill Tieleman said...

Sorry Skookum 1 but I have to disagree - what is the GVRD but another name for the same thing - a group of municipal governments.

The GVRD is now Metro Vancouver - I think it only makes sense and is simpler.

And "Lower Mainland" is far less descriptive of anything than Metro Vancouver.

I'm not trying to deride Surrey, Richmond, New West or anywhere else - but Metro Vancouver is the most sensible name for this area - GVRD is not.

Plans to Prosper said...

So let me get this straight: you would actually prefer higher taxes? You want more of your money to be taken from you, and from those struggling families you claim to care about so much?

You would prefer to take more money from the poor, ram it through the bureaucracy, give half of it to already-overpaid public unions, and then make the poor jump through hoops to get their own money back?

Or are you just blindly opposed to everything, tax hikes and tax cuts alike? Last I looked, a tax cut going to the poorest of the poor was a good thing. Tax cuts are the best economic stimulus any government can do, even moreso when those cuts go to the poorest members of society. Those struggling children won't need help from the government, because they'll get to keep more of their own money in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Just checked. PAB got a $1m increase.

Anonymous said...

Fuggettaboutit, the B.C. Liberals say – the Public Safety and Solicitor General’s budget goes up just $5 million – and then another $1 million two years from now. Be very scared, bad guys!

Children starve while all this money wasted on the futile push against prohibition. Score one for the drug war/prison-industrial complex. Bye buy nearly seven billion in tax revenue from legal pot.

Skookum1 said...

Neither Metro Vancouver or the GVRD are appropriate to refer to a gang war that includes Abbotsford and Chilliwack. You do get that, don't you?

And, again, the term Metro Vancouver properly does not refer to the geographic region encompassed by the GVRD. It refers, legally and technically, ONLY to the government of the GVRD. Which, legally and technically, is still officially named the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

And which, legally and technically, does NOT include Abby and Chilliwack (which is where a lot of the United Nations-related gang warfare has gone down).

Anonymous said...

A companion story in today's Victoria paper outlines more of the financial fallout involving the principals at Bear Mountain. (many of whom are BC Liberal connected) The financial irregularities are not being investigated by police it seems. Cuts to the budget perhaps? There's a scandal there, and its a real big one...

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your disdain for having to “pay the bill” as you put it. Classic socialist - always like to spend the money but never likes the thought of having to pay the bill afterwards. Gee Bill, should the deficit have been $ 10 Billion ? $ 20 Billion ? Funny how people like you never say. Show us the way Bill Tielemen, show us the way.

Anonymous said...

And the hits just keep on coming!

http://www.theprovince.com/news/vancouver/Hydro+looking+nine+cent+rate+hike/2635613/story.html

G West said...

Good points Skookum1 - and, Bill, I think you need to look at your reasoning again.

"Metro" isn't the appropriate word...in this case.

Ease and simplicity aren't as important as accuracy and the slide into lazy nomenclature has its own downside.

Anonymous said...

Gee Bill you are incorrect on this one.
Skookum is correct as the provincial acts (local government act including regulations) still refer to where I live as the Greater Vancouver Regional District.
PS as being from the real Vancouver I hate when people say they are from Vancouver but are not when questioned.

Anonymous said...

Minor detail here Bill, but this "word verification" setup you have, to stop SPAM, is testing my ability of what words mean on your blog.

Example, today's is ..... "symen" I had to look it up on Google.

Singularly, "Syman" is a British boy's name.... I don't have a clue what "Symen" means, however, upon checking Google once again for the words within "word verification" - "word" means a unit of language, therefore if Symen is not a unit of language what the heck is it.

Klaus said...

The part I hate is these restorations and the spin that will be put on them in future years. "We increased X funding by Y million dollars in 2010" completely ignoring that it was slashed by Y+Z million dollars the year before.

Also not fond of "We have increased spending in this area every year" but as was pointed out in the news I watched last evening, 1.2% for Children and Family Development and 1.9% for Housing and Social Development are below projected inflation rates.

NeoDude said...

"Wakey-wakey little B.C. taxpayer! The Olympic party is now over – and you are picking up the whole tab!"

well more than we would like but not the whole tab. Do continue with your misinformationfest.

"And the allegedly business-competent government is actually losing, yes losing, money from its two new and hated taxes"

Yes, that's what savvy business people do, put out loss leaders to get people buying into their products. Seems to be working well for them so far.

"It all adds up to $182 million in tax losses that will result in program cuts."

Sheer conjecture. They could always just keep ballooning the deficit until it's time to let the NDP take over.

"The $1.7 billion deficit budget is grim news for important social services ministries currently overwhelmed with the recession.
Despite the fact that British Columbia has had the highest rate of child poverty for six straight years, the Ministry of Children and Family Development will only see a miniscule 1.2% increase this year"

Well, that's just silliness to tie those two together. The bigger the deficit, the more (not less) being spent on programs.


You keep trying, young feller. You'll make it someday.

SharingIsGood said...

Thanks, Anon 10:40PM, I would have been rooting about in the government files to check whether there had been any change in funding to the PAB.

Anonymous said...

Will McMartin writes in The Tyee: Sadly, with Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals, British Columbia today has a government whose fiscal acumen is so abysmal, so evidently lacking, that they appear incapable of operating any business enterprise of any size.

It must be said that after eight years of manifest incompetence no further proof is required to prove the point, but the budget for fiscal 2010/11 definitively illustrates that this gang is fiscally clueless.
-- read the rest at the 'The Tyee' link

Anonymous said...

Vaughn Palmer blogs that the BC Hydro rate hikes could get to 29% - not the 9% reported elsewhere. Tales from the fine print: A 29 per cent rate hike for B.C. Hydro?
-----
Palmer notes in his column Forestry taken off the 'help' list: "For in line with the funding cuts, the Liberals have quietly changed most of the performance measures in forests.

Up to now, the ministry has reported annually on such things as its success in containing wildfires; whether it is doing enough to reforest the lands denuded by harvesting, fires and disease; and whether forest companies are maintaining a high level of compliance (95 per cent or thereabouts) with the forest practices code.

In the most recent year for which the ministry reported results (2008-09), it failed to achieve most of the targets. Most notably, it had to admit that it was reforesting only about three hectares of timberlands for every four that were lost.

The Liberals have eliminated the possibility of any further embarrassment over that record of underachievement by abandoning most of the performance measures
."

Anonymous said...

Wait for it. Someone will be telling us that Will is a NDP Supporter. He used to work for the BC Reform under Jack Weisgerber so the idea that he is NDP is out to lunch. And of course he isn't the only guy talking about the stupid government.
-----------------
B.C. Budget: Analysis
Gimmicks and tricks can't fix the deficit
JOHN LEHMANN/GLOBE AND MAIL

"Finance Minister's sleight of hand can only wave away cost pressures for so long
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Published on Wednesday, Mar. 03, 2010 12:00AM EST "Faced with the need to restore its battered fiscal credibility, the B.C. Liberal government has instead chosen to resort to sleight-of-hand measures that create a distraction from the unfolding political debacle of the HST, and the future peril of a blow-out deficit." Maybe the Globe is a left leaning outfit in some folks mind?

In short, Gordon Campbell's government has just tabled the Gimmick Budget.

Anonymous said...

The Victoria Times-Colonist's Les Leyne writes "about the Public Affairs Bureau and whether its budget is increasing or being cut."

Leyne also notes in the same article about the de facto ICBC rate hike written into the new BC Liberal budget.

DPL said...

I must have hit the wrong key and ended up as an anon. I don't do anon and simply included part of the Globe and Mail article. such articles are good reading and the comments don't come from the overpaid PR team working to keep Gordo and crew looking good

db said...

The best solution would be to set up total traffic blockade around faux-"Liberal" ridings like Point Grey for a week each. Maybe then the wealthy would get the message in a non-violent way that BC's peasants have stopped eating cake, and are totally pissed off. The peasants could just claim they are working for Vanoc.

db said...

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRAIL'S DOCTORS AND BC's FAUX-LIBERAL MLAs?

The doctors are prepared to make a personal sacrifice to maintain decent, adequate local healthcare.

WHEREAS

The Liberal MLAs are part of a privileged aristocracy which gets to jump to the front of the line to get medical care whenever they need it or whose salaries are so fat they can afford to go out of the country for immediate care, like Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland got recently in the USA.

The truth is that the Liberal Aristocrats don't "give a shit" about medical care in the BC Interior or anywhere else in the province for that matter. They only care about their salaries, benefits, pensions and the perks they will receive on their retirement from the corporations whose interests they serve at the expense of the best interests of the people of BC.

Jesus said...

I can just flyover you DB with my helicopter. Good luck with your blockade

Anonymous said...

Blockade with RPGHs: no helicopter/private MLA planes above our "Security Zones."

Skookum1 said...

And the allegedly business-competent government is actually losing, yes losing, money from its two new and hated taxes

Just noting there's a BIG difference between "business-competent" and "business-friendly". A government that mal-administers public administration on behalf of the business class is not behaving business-competent, it is slaveringly running the province into the ground to make things better for the (big) business that feeds its campaign donations and back-door kickbacks (let nobody presume that all Liberals see from the companies they do favours for are campaign donations).....