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BC Budget 2010: Just Stumbling Around

March 2, 2010

The 2010 BC Budget has been released today, and if anybody was expecting a post-Olympic economic vision from the BC Liberals, they’d be disappointed.

The 2010 Budget basically continues the path set by the 2009 Budget Update in September 2009: aiming to have a surplus budget by 2013/2014, continuing the reformation of the tax system from a progressive system to a middle-class harming regressive system, and finding more government services to cut.

Spending Cuts

Probably the big news story of this budget is the cuts to most government ministries with the exceptions of Health and Education, and the reduction of staff to BC’s already lean Civil Service. The Civil Service is set to have 4,142 fewer people working for it by 2013, which is a reduction of 13% of the civil service by 2008 staffing levels. The government hopes to achieve most of these reductions by not replacing those that leave the Civil Service, but some layoffs are expected. The budget of the Ministry of Forest is also to be reduced by 35%, on top of previous cuts.

One really has to wonder if these cuts are an example of the BC Liberal government being penny-wise and dollar-foolish, saving money today but reducing economic opportunities for the citizens of BC in the long term.

An Olympic Legacy?

One of the good news stories of the budget, according to the BC Liberals, is the creation of a $60 million “2010 Sports and Arts Legacy” fund, designed to help fund arts and sports programs. Of course, what isn’t mentioned is that last year’s budget made a huge cut to discretionary grant money that helped fund, you guessed it, arts and sports programs.

A Little Boost in Education Spending

Education spending has been boosted a tiny amount in this budget. However, over the last couple of years, the BC Liberal government has downloaded greater responsibilities and costs to Boards of Education. Therefore, the question is, will this boost be able to both pay for increased costs and inflation?

Property Tax Deferral For Parents With Children Under 18

By far the weirdest announcement of the budget, the BC Liberal government is allowing parents of children under 18 who have 15% equity of their homes to defer their property taxes for the 2010 tax year, supposedly for the purpose of helping working families. Of course, those who opt to defer will have to pay the tax back plus prime rate interest for the 2011 tax year.

I fail to see how this is going help people with families. First of all, this problem isn’t going to help those families that rent, not own, their houses. Secondly, this is a good way to encourage BC Families to have a higher debt load, which is ironically counter to the “live within our needs rhetoric” we keep hearing from this government. Finally, I’d suspect that increasing resources to such things as combating child poverty and housing would have been way more useful in helping working families than this program.


If anybody is looking for any indication that the BC Liberals have basically run out of ideas in regards to the governing of this province, this budget would be it. This budget seems to stumble to-and-fro. It makes penny-wise, dollar-foolish cuts to the civil service that will hurt the quality of BC Government services in the long run. It makes a big deal of a few spending increases that really make up from downloaded costs or previously cut programs. Finally, it contains just plain weird programs that seem to be based more on a ideological, warped view of market economics and less on actually helping families that have been hurt from the economic downturn.

  1. Gloria
    March 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    BC is, second from the bottom, of the poorest province in Canada. I think the stumbling, bumbling budget, handed down, weirdly constructed, because, there is no money to work with. So, they went into a taxing frenzy. It has to be. Campbell and Hansen logistics, to, tax citizens who, have lost everything they had. The massive lay offs, has resulted in, too many little guys with no jobs. The little guy is who keeps this province, and, indeed all of Canada, operating. The new budget doesn’t make a lick of sense, however, nor do Campbell and Hansen. They give millions to banks, big business and gas and oil company’s. I suppose big business, has all the money to support the party, that favors them the most. However, with no jobs, no spending.

  1. March 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm
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