B.C. deficit jumps after HST rejection

The defeat of the harmonized sales tax has nearly tripled B.C.’s deficit forecast for the current fiscal year, doubled it for next year, and left a $458-million gap for 2013 when the B.C. Liberal government has committed to balance the budget and call an election.

The defeat of the harmonized sales tax has nearly tripled B.C.’s deficit forecast for the current fiscal year, doubled it for next year, and left a $458-million gap for 2013 when the B.C. Liberal government has committed to balance the budget and call an election.

Finance Minister Kevin Falcon revealed the latest projections in the province’s first quarter economic update last Thursday.

The ministry calculates that scrapping the HST will cost the provincial treasury $2.2 billion over three years, including $700 million less revenue once the old provincial sales tax is reinstated.

Further revenue reductions are expected in later years before economic growth makes up the sales tax revenue.

Falcon said he will be traveling the province this fall for the annual budget consultation, but he has already heard that the public has little appetite for new tax or fee increases to make up for undoing the HST.

He said the cabinet has not yet decided if the “net zero” mandate for public sector union negotiations will be extended after it expires this December.

But he gave a strong hint to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, the two largest groups that have not yet agreed to contracts under those conditions.

“I think all we’re saying is that the public sector needs to recognize that in the world we’re in now, this isn’t a good time to be asking for significant increases,” Falcon said.

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston refused to comment on whether teachers or other government workers should get raises, after his party helped in the two-year effort to repeal the HST.

He said if lower-paid public employees have to sacrifice for Falcon’s cost-cutting exercise, executives in government and Crown corporations should also share the pain.


Just Posted

West Kelowna firefighters to collect food donations

Annual collection will help stock the shelves of the food bank in West Kelowna over the winter

Lake Country plan recommends to save for emergencies

The financial plan will be presented to council Tuesday

Kelowna pot dispensary launches petition

One of the medical marijuana dispensaries being sued by the City of Kelowna is fighting back

Summerland mayor receives dead rats

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

Music of the Heavens to be an out of this world musical experience

Centre for Culture and Technology at UBC Okanagan teaming up with Orchid Ensemble for Nov. 30 event

Okanagan ski hills open for the season

Both Big White and Silverstar Resort open for the 2017-18 season Thursday

Big White has wet opening day

The resort only opened four out of 19 lifts

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

Elves in search of their clothes

Eight costumes missing from Summerland Legion

Albas: Single parents and the Canada Child Tax Benefit

Kelowna area Conservative MP Dan Albas talks about the Canada Child Tax Benefit

Fuhr: A place to call home

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr talks about the National Housing Strategy

Christmas dinner in West Kelowna

It is being held at Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street, West Kelowna, at 5:30 p.m.

Cougar confronts man in Clearwater

Clearwater resident Barry Joneson had a close encounter of the cougar kind

Letter: Closing pot shops not in public interest

Letter writer says the public is not being served by Kelowna, West Kelowna going after pot shops

Most Read