The provincial government will deliver its budget today, amid a backdrop of fallen commodity prices and a generally sluggish economy. In light of British Columbia’s mounting government debt, vigilance and restraint will be key.
“B.C. is currently on target to balance the 2014/15 budget,” declared Mike de Jong, B.C.’s finance minister while unveiling the government’s latest financial update. Understandably, many British Columbians will take de Jong’s comments at face value.
One item sorely missing from Finance Minister Mike de Jongs recent provincial budget was a plan to make BCs business taxes more competitive and attractive for investment.
Tuesdays BC budget, which Finance Minister Michael de Jong called boring, balanced, should have set out an ambitious agenda for the next four years.
On February 18th British Columbians will be watching to see if finance minister Mike de Jongs budget sets out a plan to deliver on his governments ambitious goals with respect to economic growth and job creation. And the truth is, the province needs it. The past year was a disappointing one for BC in terms of economic and employment growth compared to other provinces.
While Premier Christy Clark aims to create an environment where growth and investment can flourish, little has been achieved since last years electoral victory. If Premier Clark is to help British Columbians obtain the desired prosperity and jobs, her top economic priority should be to make BC the most investment-friendly jurisdiction in Canada.
Heres whats needed.
The BC Liberals and particularly Premier Christy Clark deserve the praise theyre receiving for their surprise electoral victory. After all, the Liberals reversed a double-digit deficit in the polls and ended up securing a majority government. This moment of jubilation for the Liberals and their supporters will be short-lived however, as the reality of governing in difficult times takes hold. The litmus test for the success of this government, which they themselves established, is the success of the economy and in particular, jobs.
Going by Finance Minister Mike de Jong's public comments, Tuesday's provincial budget is supposed to present a plan to finally balance the books. But after four consecutive years in the red, British Columbians can't yet breathe a collective sigh of relief. Critically important is how Minister de Jong plans to eliminate the deficit. Will he take the path of tax increases or spending reductions?
Where has conservatism gone? Coyne asked. Unfortunately, Post readers didn't have to look far for the answer - the adjacent page to be precise.