In this election, budgets have been a point of constant discussion, mostly stemming from the disagreement by the BC Liberals and the NDP over whether or not the budget is balanced. The BC Liberal government presented a budget in the last session that projects a surplus 197 million dollars next year and the BC NDP has promised deficits during the next business cycle, which is believed to be four to five years.
The BC Liberals have presented a budget that is balanced with a mix of spending controls, tax increases, and property and asset sales. The revenue generated by these measures and the revenue projection from natural resources have been vetted by Dr. Tim O’Neil who believes that the BC Liberals approach to balancing the budget is well-founded and realistic.
The NDP on the other hand continue their attack on the budget because of their assumption that asset sales are not a credible source of revenue. Even though during their years in government one billion dollars worth of assets were sold as an attempt to balance their deficit budgets, the budget outlines many properties that are sitting idle, are not in use by the government, and therefore should be sold. Such as the original site of the new hospital in surrey, these properties can be sold to the private sector so that they can be developed which would create jobs and economic activity.
The size of British Columbia’s debt has also been a point of constant battle between the BC Liberals and the NDP over the course of this election. The NDP argue that the under the BC Liberals the debt has gone up and know stands at 40 billion. When assessing the size of the debt the NDP overlook the debt to GDP ratio which now stands at 17 percent, one of the lowest in North America, during the 1990’s the debt to GDP ratio was 27 percent. Therefore, debt under the NDP was drastically higher in comparison to our GDP during their time in government. The BC Liberals have concentrated their efforts at growing the size of the economy and because of this our debt to GDP ratio is low and we are able to spend much more on services and infrastructure with out running deficit budgets in perpetuity
Written by a guest contributor to Vancity Buzz.
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