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February 17, 2015

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Working families shoulder the burden to deliver ‘balanced’ budget—CUPE BC

VICTORIA—The B.C. provincial budget introduced today continues the BC Liberals’ practice of “balancing” the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it, while cutting taxes for high-income earners, CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Paul Faoro said today.

“The finance minister compared B.C. to Canada’s gold medal winning junior hockey team, but a more apt analogy for his government’s economic vision would be the Toronto Maple Leafs,” said Faoro. “Lots of big talk at the beginning of every season but the Stanley Cup never seems to materialize—and working families can’t afford a ticket to the game.”

Among other measures, the budget directs school boards to find $54 million in “administrative” savings, putting even more pressure on an already stressed education system. Medical Services Premium increases are growing faster than increases in funding for health care, and the budgets for skills training and post-secondary education—supposedly a priority of the government—are frozen.

“Last year’s budget was full of promises of the dollars to flow from LNG,” said Faoro. “You need a magnifying glass to find a single mention of LNG in this year’s budget speech. What British Columbians need is a government that actually understands the realities working families face. After fourteen years in power, it’s pretty clear the BC Liberals are completely out of touch—and out of ideas.”

“Finance Minister Mike de Jong says that the Liberals ‘will not be a government that forces future generations to pay for our groceries,’ which is nice rhetoric, but ignores the fact that too many low income and working families in B.C. today can’t afford to put food on the table—never mind skates and hockey equipment for their kids. And that’s a direct result of BC Liberal policy that underfunds education, health care and social services. And that imposes real costs on low-income families,” said Faoro.

“Revenue from MSP premiums, tuition fees and Hydro rates is growing faster than any other sources of government revenue. Skills training is declared a priority, but spending is frozen. I don’t think many British Columbians thought that’s what they were voting for in 2013,” said Faoro.


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