BC Budget balanced fiscally but not socially: No plan to tackle family poverty
Despite a strong recommendation from the Budget Consultations report to “introduce a comprehensive poverty reduction plan,” the government has failed to include any substantial measures to address poverty in this year’s budget.
The government has chosen to ignore the unanimous support from the members of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services and the voices from communities around BC to which they listen before making these recommendations. It’s disappointing to see British Columbians ignored once again.
The focus on balancing the provincial budget shifts the burden from the collective to the individual. With less than expected revenue and effective cuts to services, the BC government will be asking those who have less to pay more to fill the gap.
“Families will be faced with increasing stress in trying and failing to balance their own budgets,” says Trish Garner, Community Organizer of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. “British Columbians will be seeing rising costs of hydro, MSP, and the general cost of living with little support from the government to balance those pressures through investment in social programs like affordable housing and child care.”
Mike de Jong, Finance Minister, boasts that BC is one of only two provinces that will balance the budget, along with Saskatchewan. BC also shares with Saskatchewan the fact that they are the last two provinces to commit to a poverty reduction plan, despite BC having the highest poverty rate in Canada.
While our income taxes may not be increasing over the next few years, our social services will be crumbling, and we’ll be paying back that debt for generations.
Trish Garner, Community Organizer, on W2 Media, Co-op Radio (at 35mins)
More budget analysis from Iglika Ivanova, CCPA: “What you need to know about BC Budget 2014”