(Vancouver) The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Finance Minister continues to adopt a Paul Martin approach to budgeting, low-balling his revenue estimates in order to garner praise later. "While he has revised the projected deficit for 2002/03 down slightly, we believe he continues to overstate the size of this year's deficit by about $1 billion," says Seth Klein, the Centre's BC Director. "The continued inclusion of a massive $750 million forecast allowance means the Finance Minister will surely beat his targets."
"Even so, this year's budget deficit will be the largest in BC history, due mainly to last year's tax cuts, yet we are still forecast to trail the rest of the country in economic growth this year and next," says Klein.
"Of concern today, the government is projecting welfare expenditures will be over $100 million less than budgeted last February. The government claims this is a success story, and that people are finding jobs. There is little evidence to suggest this is the case. Equally likely, the need remains the same, but people are being denied access under the new rules. Anti-poverty groups report a large increase in people being turned away when seeking assistance."