Resource-based revenues will help the province by creating good paying jobs and by creating spin-offs, says Cariboo-Chilcotin Liberal MLA Donna Barnett in response to the provincial budget.
“Where will the province go if it doesn’t move forward with its resource industries? I have grave concerns about the future of the province. The opposition’s indication is we’re not going to move forward with our resource industries,” Barnett said.
And if MSP rates are not increased, the government won’t be able to pay for health care costs, she added.
Barnett described the budget as tight and responsible.
“I’ve been around a long time,” she said.
“Normally the budget comes in full of promises. This budget will have to make some tough decisions, but that’s what we’re elected for. You can’t keep giving and giving when there’s no revenue coming in.”
Bob Simpson, Cariboo North Independent MLA, said getting rid of the carbon tax on agricultural fuel is one of a few “interesting tidbits” in the budget.
“The budget can only be viewed as a promissory note from a party that wants people to vote for them in May. The claim that the budget will be balanced is simply not credible, neither is the Opposition’s partisan critique of the budget when they haven’t presented an agenda of their own.”
Charlie Wyse, Cariboo Chilcotin NDP candidate, said the issue that faces the Cariboo is “bogus budget 2013.”
In the budget there are optimistic assumptions on the revenue aspect using the one-time sale of assets.
Anyone who has tried to sell a property and tried to incorporate revenue from a potential sale before it has occurred is being unrealistic.
“It’s not a proper budget practice.”
The budget misses critical issues such a training, re-investing in the land base and addressing climate change, Wyse said suggesting it’s reinvesting in the land base that should be emphasized in the Cariboo Chilcotin.
In forest-dependent communities the government’s own reporting demonstrated a year ago they did not know what the inventory was.
Something has to be done with returning the health of our forests, he added.
“The NDP were holding off on our platform until we actually had seen the budget. We will show how we’re going to pay for all the items. Our team needs to go through this budget, separate the wheat from the chaff, so when we present our platform it’s realistic.”
It will be a clear contrast to a “tired old” Liberal government with a plan for the Interior and for the middle class.
“I wish to draw attention to the continued attack on the middle class by Liberals. The MSP has been increased again by over $100 million and that very much comes out of the pockets of the middle class and has a profound affect on a variety of groups across the society.”
Wyse said the expenditures have been understated drastically, particularly in health.
“There’s a reduction in tens of millions to health. The same accounting manoeuvres were done in 2009. The election gets over and low and behold the deficit bloomed from the original estimated $495 million to over $2 billion.”
Simpson reiterated his call for fall elections starting in 2017 because the Liberals and the NDP can use the pre-election budget as a partisan “hot potato” at the expense of government and agencies that depend on government funding.
“I tabled a bill this week to make this change that I believe both parties should support so we stop getting fake budgets every four years,” Simpson said.