Justin Hooles is an independent candidate for MLA in Columbia River Revelstoke
“I believe that your government should be honest, transparent, and working towards educating the province on all political matters. On that note, before I comment on budget 2017, I would like to clear up two things.
“By now you have probably heard about how this is our fifth consecutive balanced budget. Hearing this would leave most people thinking that our provincial debt has been not been growing, however in 2013 our debt was $55,816,000,000 and now four balanced budgets later our debt is sitting at $65,292,000,000. The plan in budget 2017 would increase our debt by $11 billion more over the next three years. Personally I would like to see the budget tell the whole story.
“Due to the timing of the 2017 election (May 9th) Budget 2017 will not be debated or voted on until the fall. In the fall the new government will be free to “update” or completely rewrite, the budget before it gets debated or voted on. In the big picture, until we move our provincial elections to the fall, the election year budget is little more than a look at the party in powers platform, at the expense of tax payers.
“As for the content of the budget, it is exactly what I would expect from this government in an election year. It contains some measure that are very welcome. Lowering the cost of the MSP effectively undoing the increases the BC Liberals have made over the years, cuts to the business tax rate, cutting the PST from business BC Hydro bill, and a $50 dollar a month increase to disability payments. It falls short on social programs, changes to the minimum wage, senior care home investments needed to meet staffing guidelines, transit investments and a climate action plan. To top it off the plan presented in the budget will continue to drive BC further into debt.”