Every February the government releases a new provincial budget, and every year, the government has to make choices about what it is going to do with your tax dollars.
This year, the B.C. Liberals made a clear choice; they chose to reward British Columbia’s most wealthy and privileged citizens, and they chose to hurt those with low or median incomes.
One of the most significant choices that the B.C. Liberals made was to cut taxes to the wealthiest two per cent which will result in a loss of revenue to the province of nearly a billion dollars over the next four years. That’s a billion dollars that will no longer be there to spend on education, healthcare, highways and other service that British Columbians rely on.
The cost of living is rising for B.C.’s middle class and those on fixed incomes. Deliberate choices in this budget are resulting in rising rates for B.C. Hydro, ICBC and MSP. B.C. Hydro will go up six per cent in 2015. ICBC rates are up 5.2%. Medical Services Plan premiums go up four per cent. For Hydro, MSP and ICBC alone, the average increase per family will be $175 this year.
If we look back to the 2013 election campaign, Christy Clark promised a Debt Free B.C. But since the last election, the debt will be increased by $28 billion. The B.C. Liberals have increased B.C.’s debt by $130 billion since they were first elected.
But where is all that money going?
There is no real money for the Trans Canada Highway twinning project that has been promised so many times.
Public school funding does not meet costs, yet in this budget the B.C. Liberals found money to increase public funding to private schools.
And despite the fact that we pay ever increasing MSP premiums, health ministry funding does not meet the public need.
The B.C. Liberals chose once again to reward their political friends. The top two per cent got a billion dollars while everybody else got less. These are the reasons that I will be voting against B.C. Liberal Budget 2015.
Norm Macdonald is the NDP MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke.