Premier David Eby’s government is barrelling into 2024 with massive debts, sky high taxes and a bloated bureaucracy.
Our provincial government is a dumpster fire. But here’s the good news: Eby can start to put out that fire in 2024 by tackling the province’s debt problem.
Eby must address excessive government spending. The big problem is a rapidly growing bureaucracy that shows no signs of shrinking. By the end of this year, the bureaucracy will have grown by a whopping 31 per cent since the NDP took power.
That 31 per cent increase only represents growth in the core bureaucracy – it doesn’t account for other taxpayer-funded jobs like teachers, doctors, nurses or bus drivers.
Does anyone really think they’re getting 30 per cent more services from the provincial government since 2016?
Government spending has increased by almost 10 per cent in the past year alone, from $74.4 billion in 2022-23, to $81.5 billion this year. Inflation has risen by 3.12 per cent in the same time period, according to the Bank of Canada.
That means provincial government spending increased by $4.8 billion more than the rate of inflation. Population has only increased by three per cent so that can’t explain the explosion in government spending.
All that government spending has serious consequences. The province is hiking taxes and borrowing massive amounts of money to pay for Eby’s bureaucratic bloat.
B.C. will be $102 billion in debt by the start of February 2024. That shakes out to $20,400 per British Columbian.
In other provinces like Alberta, government debt is being paid down. Here in B.C., the debt increased by $8.5 billion in one year.
Debt interest charges will cost taxpayers $3.3 billion this year. That’s $275 million every month. And that’s more money than the government takes from the carbon tax or employer health tax.
Just paying the interest fees on our provincial debt takes up more than four per cent of the government’s total spending.
In fact, the Eby government is spending more to cover interest charges on the debt than it’s spending on the ministries of transportation and infrastructure, public safety, housing and agriculture combined.
Eby must start paying down the debt instead of adding more and more. Debt is deferred taxation and Eby must stop adding to that future bill.
Taxes are already going up to pay for the cost of Eby-nomics. The first provincial carbon tax is set to increase by three cents per litre of gasoline, up to 17 cents per litre.
Filling up a sedan in Metro Vancouver will cost about $52 in taxes alone. Only seven per cent of British Columbians want to see gas taxes rise, according to recent polling conducted by Innovative Research Group.
The carbon tax also makes it more expensive to heat your home. For many British Columbians, the carbon tax costs more than the natural gas they use to stay warm.
Other premiers, like Wab Kinew in Manitoba and Scott Moe in Saskatchewan, are freezing or cutting energy taxes. Meanwhile, Eby is barrelling ahead like a bull in a china shop.
To get B.C. back on track in 2024, Eby must reduce government spending, start paying down the debt and cancel his tax hikes.
Carson Binda is the B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
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