Long overdue increased funding for child and family services are welcomed but new provincial budget in B.C. misses the mark in many ways.
Vancouver (19 Feb. 2015) — The recent provincial budget by the British Columbia government continues to underfund many government services and relies too heavily on regressive fees to create revenue rather than on applying progressive taxes on profitable corporations and individuals with high incomes.
Province's public service has been cut 25% since 2008
“Too many ministries and government agencies continue to see budgets that fail to keep up with inflation or population growth in B.C.,” says B.C. Government and Services Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) President Stephanie Smith.
“Of particular concern are the budgets for Advanced Education which trains our next generation of workers, for the Ministry of Justice which keeps our communities safe, and for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, which is needed to harness our abundant natural resources for the benefit of all. B.C. already has the leanest provincial public service in the country. Relative to B.C.’s population, the public service has been slashed by 25 per cent since 2008, continues to shrink, and fails to meet the needs of British Columbians.”
Increases in child and family services welcomed
“We welcome important increases in the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Community Living BC. The BCGEU/NUPGE has lobbied for increased funding that will provide resources and front-line staff that serve some of our most vulnerable citizens,” says Smith. “More funding is needed, but this is an important step in the right direction. Exempting child support payments is also a welcome move; however, cutting $4 million from the Family Maintenance Program will make it more difficult for parents to get the money they are owed.”
Relying on regressive revenue sources
“The government continues to rely too heavily on regressive revenue sources such as the Medical Services Plan premiums and tuition. The BCGEU/NUPGE is also disappointed the government has eliminated the increased tax rate on people with earnings over $150,000. The tax generated more than $227 million annually and could fund important public services and infrastructure that supports jobs and economic growth. Now is not the time to eliminate a tax that funds services. The government’s new tax credits will only provide extremely limited benefits,” says Smith.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE