BC budget ‘disappointing’, says Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA

New Democrat MLA Scott Fraser says the BC Liberals have blown their chance to show leadership with their 2013 budget.

The provincial budget unveiled by the BC Liberals on Tuesday does not address many of the needs of British Columbians, says Alberni-Pacific Rim NDP MLA Scott Fraser.

“It’s a disappointing budget on so many levels,” Fraser said after BC Finance Minister Kevin Falcon released the budget at the Legislature in Victoria.

With the budget, the government has said it will restrict spending increases, keep small business tax and perhaps increase the corporate tax rate by one per cent in order to balance its budget before the 2013 election.

Falcon’s first budget has a deficit of $969 million for the fiscal year starting April 1, as B.C. pays to end the harmonized sales tax. Most of its modest spending growth will occur in health and education.

What the budget doesn’t do is address child poverty, post-secondary education or seniors, Fraser said. “We have the highest child poverty rate in the country. We have the biggest income gap in the country…this continues along that way,” Fraser said.

“There is nothing for the middle class, nothing for families except for further increases; more MSP increases for health care.”

While the NDP is preaching changes to the corporate tax structure, Fraser said the BC Liberals’ language on the matter is weak at best. Major tax breaks still exist for large corporations and Falcon did not commit to an increase. He said the government would consider raising the rate to 11 per cent, but not until 2013 and only depending on financial conditions.

Fraser also had a problem with proposed cuts to post-secondary education–a sector that can least afford it, he said. Fraser would have liked to see the Liberals invest in post-secondary education to ease student debt, and to address a looming skills shortage.

“It’s been identified as a priority for the B.C. economy and jobs. We need to be investing in these jobs,” Fraser said.

The budget also ignored recommendations made in the ombudsman’s report on seniors released recently, as well as the auditor general’s report on the state of forestry, released last week.

“I see this as a nothing budget, but a dangerous nothing budget at a time when we needed leadership,” Fraser said.

BC Conservatives leader John Cummins called the budget another “fudge-it budget“, saying the Liberals are raising taxes “on the most productive part of our economy–small businesses.”

The BC Greens are worried that the Liberals are “staking B.C.’s future on trade of our non-renewable resources, gambling revenue and consumer spending, and revenue from our crown corporations which the auditor general has questioned,” leader Jane Sterk said in a release.

“Greens notice that missing from the budget and the language used to frame the decisions are any dollars for climate change, food security, community based energy production, affordable market housing, energy efficiency retrofits and water security. These are all investments that would help diversify the economy.”

With files from Tom Fletcher, legislative reporter for Black Press

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read