The 2019 budget put forth by the NDP in Victoria is sounding some alarm bells from Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.
In an interview with My PG Now, one of the first things that stood out to Rustad about this year’s budget, is the increased spending levels being predicted by Finance Minister Carole James and the John Horgan government.
“Yet our revenues and income are not increasing, when I look at it the overall economy is predicted to grow 7.4% and spending is going to grow over 10% over the next three years and that means overall spending will increase by almost 26% over the term the NDP is in power.”
Rustad was extremely disappointed there was no mention about the forestry sector in the north as companies continue to struggle with the current economic conditions.
In the budget, the NDP announced gaming revenue sharing of 297-million dollars over the next three years, projecting to provide over 3 billion dollars over the next quarter-century.
The MLA sees a couple of scenarios, which could make or break this move.
“It’s about $500,000 per year per band and my only concern is where that money comes from. If it is coming out of the government side of the gaming revenue than that is a good thing but if it ends up coming out of the side of what normally goes to charities that could be pretty challenging.”
Prince George-Valemount MLA and BC Liberal Finance Critic Shirley Bond believes this is a high-risk budget that is being propped up by Ottawa and the Carbon Tax.
She is especially concerned about the resource sector in Northern BC, which is expected to take another hit in this budget.
“One of the most significant numbers in the budget is the fact that revenue from the resource sector is expected to decline by 30% in this budget, we know what that means, that’s talking about jobs and some of the opportunities for industry to expand and be robust.”
Bond says the NDP is taking the province’s strong economy for granted with little thought being put into job creation.
“You cannot rely on a robust economy forever. You have to actually work hard to drive a jobs agenda, to look at growing the economy or you’re going to have a problem with sustainability.”
“It’s a spending budget and we’re quite confident taxpayers are going to be paying for it.”
The Carbon Tax continues to be a bone of contention as well.
“The Carbon tax continues to increase and one of the things this government got rid of was the revenue-neutral aspect of the carbon tax, in other words, returning those funds to British Columbians and we saw in the budget that six billion dollars will be collected the next number of years through the carbon tax and only 900 million dollars will be assigned to green initiatives.”
For a full report of the budget, you can follow this link