Yesterday senior economist Iglika Ivanova and I were at the BC budget lockup — where journalists, community organizations, the official opposition and others examined the budget before it was released to the public. After the lockup, Iglika did a whirlwind round of media interviews, and we shared our analysis with CCPA’s community online.
Before we go any further, here’s one of the graphics we released on social media yesterday. Please help share!
Our overall assessment of the budget, as Iglika said in an interview for The Tyee, is that instead of comprehensive action on job creation, poverty reduction, housing affordability or other pressing issues, the government presented a collection of small, ineffective measures that won’t make much difference for most British Columbians. For example:
- After a nine-year freeze, disability benefits are increasing by a measly $77 a month. But as Iglika notes, “We need to have increases that actually reflect the cost of living in our province. Leading the country shouldn’t just be in GDP growth, it should be about how we treat the most vulnerable among us.”
- The budget for K-12 education is practically frozen for the next 3 years.
- There are a few small measures on housing, but they are entirely aimed at home buyers.
- The government committed a small amount of funding for child care centres, essentially ignoring the child care affordability crisis.
Read more of Iglika’s analysis here: What you need to know about BC Budget 2016, Marc Lee’s analysis of housing measures here: Housing budget? Not so much, and Keith Reynold’s assessment of tax collection and spending here: Less money collected as taxes and spent on health and education.
Articles in the Globe and Mail and The Tyee also include commentary from Iglika and others on housing, MSP, funding for children in care and more. In advance of the budget, Iglika also wrote a post on BC’s job market that’s good background reading for assessing the budget, and another post on the Throne Speech and what it says about government priorities.
Keep your eye on our blog for more commentary coming soon. The best way to keep up with our work is by following us on Twitter.
One final note: If you know a grad student looking for a paid internship, please share our posting for the Rosenbluth intern. Application deadline is this coming Sunday, February 21. And the deadline for our Power of Youth leadership awards has been extended to February 29.
All the best,
Sarah Leavitt, Media & Publications Specialist