BC Budget Consultation 2015

I just made an 11-th hour written submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Each fall they consult the public on the upcoming provincial budget, and I figured I’d contribute my hastily-written list of pet peeves.

They have a Budget Consultation Paper that you can read for context, where they talk about government priorities (evidently: low taxes, boutique tax credits, free money for homeowners, health-care spending, and training; the last two of which I have no problem with).

My priorities are a bit different: transportation, electricity, global warming, poverty, housing availability, and transparency.

  • BC should reduce the number of boutique tax credits. Such spending should take the form of programs that are recorded in budget line items which can be reviewed by future governments.
  • BC should not give money to homeowners to “increase affordability;” rather BC should work to encourage construction and infill; investigate the issue of vacant and foreign-owned homes; and increase incomes (see next two points).
  • BC should reduce poverty by implementing a basic income (negative income tax), which could replace other piecemeal income support programs and reduce “welfare traps.”
  • BC should raise the minimum wage so that a single full-time worker would at least meet the poverty line.
  • BC should continue to increase the carbon tax.
  • BC should enact legislation to allow road pricing and congestion pricing, both to fund Translink and to fund provincial highways and bridges.
  • BC should not require referenda to fund transportation infrastructure in Metro Vancouver.
  • BC should allow BC Hydro to increase rates so as to be able to maintain its aging infrastructure.
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