(Victoria) Budget 2015 demonstrates a short-sighted focus on recording a surplus instead of a long-term vision that would address serious social and environmental deficits, says Iglika Ivanova, Senior Economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Ivanova points to Finance Minister Michael de Jong’s comment that “We will not be a government that leaves it to future generations to pay for the services we benefit from today.”
“To put this another way,” says Ivanova, “‘We will be a government that underfunds services today because our top priority is recording a surplus. We will leave it to future generations to pay for the problems that we refuse to spend money on: poverty, environmental degradation, and gaps in healthcare.'”
Ivanova notes that the Finance Minister makes repeated references to BC having “bragging rights” and being in an “exclusive club” because of the budget surplus.
“We ended 2014 with a nearly $1 billion surplus,” says Ivanova. “Why can’t we afford to bring in a comprehensive poverty reduction plan, $10 a day childcare, or an effective job creation plan? Or raise welfare rates that have been frozen for eight years? Wouldn’t this be something to brag about?”
“It’s great that the government is ending the family support clawback for single parents on income assistance,” notes Ivanova. “But this amounts to only $13 million a year. Meanwhile, they’re phasing out the top tax bracket for British Columbians earning over $150,000 a year, which puts $227 million in the pockets of the richest 2%.”