Bruce Ralston: B.C. Liberals table bogus budget filled with accounting tricks

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The B.C. Liberal government’s budget tabled last week is not a balanced budget. It is a bogus budget, filled with accounting tricks, unrealistic revenue projections, and unsustainable expenditures in areas that support British Columbians like health care, postsecondary education, and skills training.

In reality, this is the fifth deficit budget in a row tabled by the Liberals.

This budget relies on nearly $800 million from a fire sale of B.C.’s valuable land and assets. Never mind how short-sighted that plan is, most of the properties they are banking on aren’t even for sale yet. Since they first announced their fire sale in the 2012 budget, they’ve completed no sales.

Respected economist Don Drummond wrote a report for the Ontario government that addressed the issue of asset sales. He advised, “Do not count chickens before they are hatched. If assets are to be sold, never incorporate any revenue from such planned sales into a budget before the fact.”

But that’s exactly what the Liberals are doing.

The Liberals’ projected expenditures are unrealistic and unsustainable. Just look at the health care budget. They cut the projected increase to health care by $233 million, but failed to tell British Columbians the truth about what that will mean to them.

Either the $233-million drop in health spending isn't credible, or the Liberal government is planning more service cuts to health care.

Remember that before the 2009 election the Liberals said they would protect health care, but right after the Liberals were returned to office, they forced health authorities to make cuts to the services British Columbians rely on.

British Columbians also haven’t forgotten that the Liberals promised before the 2009 election that their deficit budget would be in the red by $495 million “maximum, which ballooned to almost $2 billion after the election.

The Liberals also promised, in writing, that they wouldn’t implement an HST before the 2009 election. Yet they have squandered their entire term in office on the HST, creating uncertainty in the B.C. economy with a massive tax shift from big corporations to working families and small businesses that voters eventually rejected.

While the Liberals spend nearly $17 million of taxpayers’ money on pre-election partisan ads to promote the premier’s record on skills training, their budget reveals the truth: they have again cut the budget for postsecondary education, a decision that will negatively affect our province's long-term prosperity.

This budget predicts a reduction in the number of student spaces in college and university, provides less money for student assistance and less support for advanced education. There is no new investment in apprenticeship and industry training.

In contrast, New Democrats will present a practical plan connected to the priorities of British Columbia and its regions. Priorities like improving access to skills training and postsecondary education. Our plan will focus on key priorities that will reduce inequality and improve our economy. And we’ll show how we will pay for our priorities.

For example, New Democrat leader Adrian Dix has proposed a nonrepayable student grant program for young British Columbians and workers in transition to gain access to postsecondary programs, which we will fund through the reinstatement of a tax on big banks.

The Liberals’ budget is not balanced and it promises to saddle the next government with a very serious fiscal situation. It shows the Liberals are not up to the challenges facing B.C. today. It’s time for a new and better government that is more connected to British Columbians.

Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.

Comments (7) Add New Comment
Louis Cyphre
Pretty funny when you remember the last premier named clark!
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Bull Harbour
No worries, Dix can just "forge" his way through...
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Anyone else bothered by that slogan?
"change for the better, one practical step at a time."

Talk about playing it safe, they're even hedging their campaign slogan. It's painfully awkward and portrays something that's typical of all NDP governments, indecisiveness.

When will this mythical NDP budget come out? It's becoming a caricature of itself.
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gilbert marks
Why is that the NDP, when talking sleazy accounting tricks never mentions the $100B in PPP debt (aka contractual obligations) run up buying facilities worth 10% what we paid, expanding debt from $30B left by the NDP not to the $50B claimed by the fascists in the MSM but $150B. That $100B went almost entirely to stockbroker pals of the former Premier.

Biggest Scandal in Canadian history but so far not even in the news. Is this lack of reporting part of Dix's I'm being nice plan?
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Leigh Baily

For the first time in 40 years of voting in BC there is not a party that I want to vote for. I think we are doomed for the next four years to live with a dishonest bunch of politicians. The problem in this province is the swing from the far right to the far left. As a retired small business owner I know that a fair government that can balance capitalism with socialism works. The Libs have no respect for the people of BC and I am scared that the NDP will be just so pro union that our taxes will have to increase exponentially just to pay their bill. Cummins and the Conservatives; well that is a lost cause. I think we went from the frying pan into the fire with the change from Campbell to Clark. I was hoping for a NDP minority government with a Conservative opposition. This would kick out the Libs and not give a free rein to the NDP.
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Just Wondering
I am more than willing to vote for the NDP as we simply cannot survive another four years under the Liberal banner. The lies, deceit and just plain sleight of hand can no longer be tolerated. People have to stop letting the MSM brainwash them against the one party that may do something for the people. Some of the posters here show that to many of them still believe everything they read in the MSM. It’s either that or while everyone else is making them money they spend their time at the computer spreading their self-serving poison about how good their Liberal government is. Me, I’m retired, and I am concerned about the future for the children in this province and tired of the greedy BS of the few with the biggest mouths and the arrogance to think that all is well as long as they have it all and there are lots of slaves to support them. yes, I'd say I'm pretty angry!
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tED
Too much damage has been done to the BC economy, Clark knows her days are numbered and they are just raiding the cupboards for the scraps.

hard to believe they would committ political suicide like bringing in the HST Like that.

insanity
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