Your Voice in Victoria

What’s Missing?

Shirley Bond
What’s Missing?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks as we returned for the Spring Session of the Legislature. The last week has seen the introduction of the government’s Throne and Budget speeches.

The Throne speech generated little debate and in fact the vote was called very quickly as a result of virtually no speakers from the government side standing up to provide their remarks.

Last week the 2019 budget was tabled. And while every budget has initiatives that have merit, this budget causes me concern for a number of reasons.

The most significant concern is what was missing in the hundreds of pages of budget documents.

What the budget laid out was spending and revenue that will increase by roughly six billion dollars over the next three years.

There will be an increase in spending of approximately twenty-six percent over the term of this government, and the fact of the matter is that much of this spending relies on money coming from hardworking taxpayers.

The list of new or increased taxes now totals nineteen and includes the Employer Health Tax and the Speculation Tax.

Debt will also rise over the next three years by more than fourteen billion dollars. The total debt is anticipated to reach more than eighty two billion dollars by 2021.

One of the most surprising elements of the budget was learning that while carbon tax revenue will continue to grow as a result of yearly increases, only fifteen percent of carbon tax revenue will be allocated to green initiatives. The balance will go into general revenue.

There are many more details that we continue to analyze, but suffice it to say that at this point there is a glaring omission in the budget.

The government continues to ignore the signs that globally the economy is slowing. You simply cannot and should not assume the economy will perform the same tomorrow as it did today.

There is no jobs plan, no plan for economic growth or to encourage investment. Our province’s competitive advantage is at risk and there was absolutely nothing in the budget to address this concern.

Now is a time for prudent fiscal management to ensure that British Columbia can face any financial challenges that may emerge. Sadly, that was missing from the recently tabled 2019 budget.