BC’s new government has outlined its spending priorities in its budget update.
NDP Finance minister Carole James says they intend to provide funding to hire 3,500 teachers, and build 1,700 affordable rental units and 2,000 homes for the homeless.
Vernon Monashee Liberal MLA Eric Foster says many of those projects are worthy, but the government can’t be shutting-down job creation projects
“So you eliminate all those jobs, you’re eliminating all that income, and at the same time you’re planning to spend a whole bunch more money. So, I’m very, very concerned you’ll spend all the money and there will be no income.”
James says they are also proceeding with a 50% cut in Medical Services Plan premiums, and a $100 per month increase for income and disability assistance.
Foster says the funding has to come from somewhere.
“My concern is the money that they plan on spending, where are they going to get it? Other than raising the carbon tax next year.”
Foster says he agrees with creating more housing options.
“I applaud that. I think it’s great. But you got to have money to pay for it. You know, you can’t shut down projects with huge income potential for the government and expect to be able to pay for a whole bunch of other initiatives.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says increasing the corporate tax rate, and the personal rate on higher earners, will generate funds for the much-needed investments in education and social programs.
BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger says after 16 years of neglect by the Liberals, the budget update takes the first steps to address the affordability crisis and support working families.