VANCOUVER, B.C.: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Premier John Horgan to stop the province’s debt spiral in the wake of the fiscal update.
“While it’s encouraging to see a smaller deficit than many had feared, Premier Horgan must commit to fighting the debt side of the balance sheet,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Focussing only on the operating budget and short-term deficits while ignoring the ballooning debt is like tidying your kitchen while the bathroom is flooding.”
After forecasting a deficit of nearly $13 billion in September, British Columbia ended fiscal year 2020-21 with a deficit of $5.5 billion.
Finance Minister Selena Robinson reported Wednesday that higher-than-expected revenues from the Employer Health Tax, Property Transfer Tax, savings at ICBC and large sums of federal taxpayers’ money for COVID-19 have helped Victoria save some cash.
“The government raked-in $200 million more than it had planned to in the Employer Health Tax, even in the darkest days of the pandemic,” said Sims. “We need to hit the spending brakes as soon as possible because British Columbians can’t afford for the government to keep spending as if the emergency is still happening after it stops.”
The province spent about $58.8 billion in 2019-20 and it is set to spend $68.6 billion in 2023-24, about $5 billion more than it had planned to spend before COVID-19.
The provincial budget shows the debt is set to hit $127 billion by 2023-24, incurring large interest costs.
“The interest payments on British Columbia’s provincial debt this year could pay the salaries of 4,600 new paramedics for ten years,” said Sims.
B.C. pays about $2.8 billion per year in interest charges on the provincial debt.
S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings have both downgraded the province’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, citing the deficit spending and deepening debt levels as key reasons.
As you may know, we're working hard to stop Prime Minister Trudeau's attempt to add a 2nd carbon tax upon Canadian taxpayers. If you are against this tax, would you take a moment today to read and consider signing the petition below?
When you do, your name will be added to the growing list of tens of thousands across our country who want to tell the government that we are opposed to these new taxes. Please take a moment to read the petition below and consider signing it today.
To Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
The federal government is introducing new fuel standard regulations to require industry to reduce the carbon content of fossil fuels. If industry can’t meet the standard, they’ll have to pay Trudeau's second carbon tax. This tax will ultimately hit already struggling families and businesses.
It’s bad enough that taxpayers are already paying for one carbon tax. Canadians certainly can’t afford a second carbon tax.
We, the undersigned, call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap plans for a second carbon tax.