VICTORIA—Significant investments in child care and affordable housing in today’s budget will greatly improve the lives of hundreds of thousands British Columbians as will progressive tax reform, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC Office.
Still needed, however, are more financial commitments to climate action and reducing poverty.
“Creation of the child care program — BC’s first major new social program in generations — must be celebrated,” said senior economist Iglika Ivanova of the $1.2 billion investment over three years.
“Not only will this help children get off to a good start, more mothers will be able to work and new jobs will be created, which will boost the economy and increase tax revenues almost immediately,” she explained.
The introduction of a three-year $1.6 billion provincial housing plan and eliminating MSP are also welcome, says public finance analyst Alex Hemingway.
“More housing options are urgently needed and the government plan to implement a speculation tax and increase the foreign buyers and property taxes on the wealthiest, and investing in affordable housing and increasing rental assistance to low-income families will help address BC’s housing crises,” he said.
“Restoring fairness to BC’s tax system is long overdue and this will also help fund and revitalize public services,” he added.
Just as notable as these programs is the lack of adequate government support for climate action, environmental protection and poverty reduction, said Ivanova and Hemingway.
“No single budget can solve all the problems facing British Columbians because of the under-investment in public services over the past 16 years. However, the scale and urgency of the climate change crisis means we can’t afford to wait,” said Hemingway.
“BC Budget 2018 will make life more affordable for many British Columbians, however, it is disappointing to see that those living in poverty must wait for the Poverty Reduction Plan later this year to get the improvements they need,” said Ivanova.
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