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BC Budget 2017 a missed opportunity

Originally Published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

(VICTORIA) Budget 2017 is a missed opportunity to address vital issues facing BC families like persistent poverty, unaffordable child care and the crises in seniors’ care, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office.

Instead of giving away the budget surplus in tax cuts, the government could have reduced MSP and tweaked the mix of business taxes without sacrificing much-needed public revenues, said senior economist Iglika Ivanova.

“The cut to MSP premiums will help some families,” said Ivanova, “but it doesn’t eliminate the fundamental unfairness of the tax.”

“It’s a concern that the MSP cut eliminates nearly $1 billion of revenue every year. If these revenues were replaced with fairer taxes, they could have been used to tackle unmet needs in our health care system, increase staffing in seniors’ nursing homes, and fund more hours of home support or boosted mental health supports,” she added.

Ivanova has shown how the MSP could be eliminated completely to especially help those who need it most without negatively impacting the provincial budget.

Alex Hemingway, CCPA-BC’s Public Finance Analyst, said the budget contains a number of modest one-time funding boosts to patch up what are deep, longstanding problems in areas like health care, education and housing, however, the government’s pre-election budget misses the mark.

“We are actually continuing to see a decline in public spending as a share of the province’s overall economic pie,” said Hemingway. “This government has been in power for 16 years and yet totally missing from the budget are investments in quality child care and a badly-needed poverty reduction plan, which individuals, organizations and the Legislature’s budget committee have long been calling for.”

For more information contact Communications Director Jean Kavanagh at 604-802-5729 or jean[at]policyalternatives.ca