Growing up, my grandfather taught me the value of a dollar.
He used to tell me, “Pay up as you go up so that when you get up, you are up.”
He always wanted value for what he spent and was careful with those dollars. As an uneducated rancher and farmer, he and my grandmother were millionaires when they passed. How? Because they were wise with their money.
This last month has produced some surprising financial results for BC.
The Finance Minister announced that BC posted a surplus of 1.3 billion dollars for the fiscal period of 2021-22, and is forecasting a surplus of 706 million this year.
Sounds like great news, right?
Until you look at the details.
Last year’s surplus could have come from the additional taxes paid by corporations for their employees, called Employers’ Health Tax, or from the soaring housing market in Provincial Property Transfer Tax which posted a surplus of 1.3 billion on one line item.
The government showed the surplus was from higher taxes, including carbon taxes, higher fuel taxes, higher corporate taxes, and higher personal taxes.
Simply put, the government’s higher revenue was from you and the taxpayers of BC.
So how is this NDP government spending money?
Let’s have a look.
Right now, healthcare has never been worse. Over 20% of British Columbians don’t have a primary family doctor and can’t get access to healthcare.
Our hospitals are overloaded, and BC was one of the few jurisdictions that didn’t add any ICU capacity with the federal dollars that were given to us during COVID for the purposes of capacity expansion.
Any additional spending in healthcare? No.
Are our tax dollars going towards improving the ambulance service? No. People are dying as they wait for an ambulance to arrive.
How about mental health supports? No.
I have heard from parents that can’t find support for their kids, adults that don’t know how to get help in the issues of their lives, and those that are on the verge of crisis, not able to get help or support.
Where are those complex care beds? So far, they have been promised twice, but with no location, physical structure, or dollars allocated. Sounds like help is still a long way off for the hundreds on our streets and in subsidized housing.
How about a new Rutland Middle School or a new high school in Glenmore? Nope.
There was enough money for a new hidden bonus for BCGEU employees, however.
This new agreement will cost BC taxpayers 2.6 billion dollars. This is in addition to the additional 140,000 government employees that cost BC taxpayers over 11 billion dollars per year!
That is a staggering dollar figure.
Meanwhile, this government still has people waiting for their $110 ICBC rebate promised to them in March, as well as a promised rental rebate for the last two elections.
The government may pat themselves on the back for the economic rebound post COVID, but the Stats Canada jobs report tells a much different story.
Private sector jobs are tanking while government jobs are growing.
British Columbians are paying more taxes than ever before, not getting the services that they need, and instead getting a huge government staff with massive salaries, but no measurable outcomes.
Big government and a small private sector is a horrific combination. It will mean a decrease in BC’s GDP because government jobs don’t produce anything yet cost taxpayers a lot of money.
Taxpayers deserve better. British Columbians deserve more.
If BC is going to post a surplus, it should be because the economy is growing in the private sector and not because taxpayers are paying more.
Especially if they are getting less for those dollars.
My question this week is this:
Do you feel that you are getting value from the tax dollars that you are paying?
I love hearing from you!
Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call me at 250-712-3620.