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.