BC Budget – A Missed Opportunity

A note from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives

Dear Friend,

AllBudgetShots.pngWe spent yesterday in Victoria “locked up” with over one hundred other organizations and journalists, to pore over the provincial government’s budget before it was released to the public. Within minutes of being released, our analysis was posted on PolicyNote.ca, and we did a whirlwind round of media interviews (including panel discussions on CBC Radio and Global News).

Once again, the government neglected to tackle a number of pressing issues facing BC — such as the affordability crisis in housing and child care, high poverty rates, the dire shortage of home and community care for seniors…not to mention urgently-needed climate change initiatives like substantial investments in transit.

Instead, the biggest ticket item in the budget was tax cuts. The largest of these was a 50% reduction in MSP premiums (for households making under $120,000 per year). We’re glad to see a reduction in this extremely unfair tax. But yesterday’s announcement really just reversed the MSP hikes brought in by the government over the last 15 years.

A much better solution would be to eliminate the MSP altogether and replace the revenues with more fair taxes (as Iglika proposed back in July). But not only did the government fail to eliminate the MSP, it chose to simply forego the revenues.

Our budget analysis also looks at corporate tax cuts, child protection, infrastructure, health, education, climate, housing and more. You can also check out some helpful background pieces from the past couple of weeks – showing how BC’s tax system become much less fair over the last 16 years, and unpacking the provincial government’sobsession with “debt”.

You can also learn more about yesterday’s BC Budget by reading our BC Budget commentary on Policy Note, or by checking out coverage from the Globe and Mail, the Times Colonist, CBC News and others.

Iglika Ivanova and Alex Hemingway