VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Several groups were vocal about what impacts they are worried about following the tabling of the BC budget.
The province’s plan to hike a number of taxes is getting a bad review from one outspoken advocacy group.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the budget is going to do damage to families and employers.
BC Director Jordan Bateman calls the BC government surprisingly tone deaf to business competitive concerns. “Businesses need revenue, need money in order to create jobs. And yet they are taking more of it away. PST was bad enough. They’ve just compounded this.”
Bateman is also critical of the Medical Services Plan premiums increase of roughly four per cent, pointing out it’s the latest in a series of increases.
“For a family of five like mine, it means an extra $30 a month compared to what I was paying for five years ago. It’s a lot of money, and it’s hurting a lot of families.”
Bateman also suggests there’s a risk high-income earners will leave the province to avoid paying more income taxes.
BC Chamber of Commerce says something is missing
A regular supporter of the BC Liberal government is also giving the budget a mixed review.
The BC Chamber of Commerce feels something is missing in the government’s plans.
It’s not necessarily the one point increase in the corporate income tax rate that troubles Chamber President and CEO John Winters.
“Nobody likes to have tax increases, but at the same time I think it’s important that business contributes to the growth of the economy and to get to the balanced budget target.”
Winters says what’s missing is some help for the switch back from the HST to the PST in April. “The cost to business of losing the HST is far greater than the one per cent corporate income tax raise. The absence of any recognition of that in the budget is concerning.”
Winters compares the return of the PST to a tax increase.
Is the selling of assets really a good idea?
BC’s top labour group is also critical of the province’s plan to sell public assets to help balance the books. Some valuable vacant lots, a former school in Surrey and a parking lot near the legislature, will generate $625 million over the next two years, according to today’s budget annoucement.
The BC Federation of Labour wants the government to hold off until after the election.
The province’s plan for surpluses in each of the next two years depends on selling off properties and assets.
But the Federation’s Jim Sinclair says the government doesn’t have the mandate to do so. “They’re trying to show a balanced book by selling assets. It’s wrong and they should not sell one single asset between now and that election date.”
Sinclair also questions the government’s move to balance the budget now after a string of deficits. “It’s all about smoke and mirrors and about balancing the budget for a political reason, not sound economic principles.”
The labour leader also wonders whether a hike in the MSP will lead to better health care.
BC’s representative for children and youth has a litany of complaints
More strong criticism comes from a provincial child advocate, who says today’s budget does nothing for vulnerable children.
BC’s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has a harsh analysis of the budget, saying it doesn’t reflect sound family policy.
“If you cared about kids that are vulnerable, you would do the right thing, and this budget fails to do that right thing yet again.”
Among her criticisms — the way the province cares for children under its supervision. “British Columbians are going to pay in the future for that. You can’t mistreat children for where you’re the parent and not expect to pay later.” add Turpel-Lafond
The watchdog also is not impressed with education plans and child mental health wait lists.