VICTORIA, B.C.: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is looking for the province to show leadership on fiscal responsibility in tomorrow’s 2022 budget.
“The federal government has no interest in stopping its debt dive so it falls on economic powerhouse provinces such as British Columbia to show leadership on fiscal responsibility,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. “Taxpayers are looking for a plan to balance the budget so less debt is added on to the back of future generations, less money is wasted on interest payments and the province can avoid future tax hikes.”
The CTF is looking for five key priorities in tomorrow’s provincial budget:
1.Balance the budget within four years
The government of B.C. will be $127 billion in debt by 2023-24. Debt interest payments cost about $2.8 billion per year. That amount of money could pay for the salaries of 4,600 new paramedics for 10 years. Deficits and deepening debt have triggered a credit downgrade from AAA to AA+.
2.Open ICBC to full competition
Prior to the pandemic, ICBC was losing about a billion dollars per year and taxpayers were ultimately going to be on the hook for it. The CTF is calling on the government to initiate the process of transitioning ICBC to a co-op and open it up to competition.
3.No corporate welfare
The CTF warns that spending $500 million of taxpayers’ money to create the InBC Investment Corp. could lead to a cycle of wasteful spending. Instead of corporate welfare, the CTF recommends the government lower taxes and reduce red tape to grow the economy and attract investment and skilled workers to B.C.
4.Cancel employer health tax
The B.C. government takes approximately $2 billion away from job creators in the form of the Employer Health Tax per year.
5.Review spending to find savings
Returning to the pre-COVID level of spending would save $9 billion per year.
“Taxpayers are already losing out on $2.8 billion in debt interest payments that can’t go to hiring more paramedics because it’s going to the bond fund managers on Bay Street,” said Terrazzano. “Taxpayers are looking for the government to find savings by ending corporate welfare and opening up the ICBC monopoly.”
The CTF’s pre-budget submission is available here.