Reaction mixed from interest groups responding to B.C.’s 2017-18 budget

Interest groups react to B.C. budget 2017-18

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s 2017-18 budget was announced Tuesday by Finance Minister Mike de Jong and elicited mixed reactions from interest groups across the province.

Carole James, Opposition NDP finance critic:

“Now that it’s election time, the government is singularly focused on having you forget everything they have ever done. They’re hoping that you’re going to forget the families, children, seniors and so many people who have had a very tough five years under this premier and a very tough decade and a half under the B.C. Liberal government.”

Gavin Dirom, Association for Mineral Exploration B.C.:

“We thank the B.C. government for its balanced 2017 budget and for confirming the extension and expansion of important tax credits that recognize mineral exploration as the lifeblood of mining,”

Torrance Coste, Wilderness Committee:

“The environment and climate change are two of the most pressing issues facing B.C. today, and this budget provides nothing more than Band-Aid solutions for both of them. … This government’s approach is like using duct tape to repair a sinking ship and B.C. deserves better than that.”

Greg D’Avignon, Business Council of British Columbia:

“Delivering a balanced budget within a climate of modest economic growth and a mixed outlook for commodities sets B.C. apart and signals that the province is a stable place to invest and do business.”

Alex Hemingway, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

“This government has been in power for 16 years and yet totally missing from the budget are investments in quality child care and a badly needed poverty-reduction plan, which individuals, organizations and the legislature’s budget committee have long been calling for.”

Iain Black, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:

“There isn’t a government of any political stripe in this country who wouldn’t want to deliver today’s budget. … British Columbia continues to lead Canada in terms of financial management and economic strength, giving our business community a stable foundation on which to build. “

John Horgan, leader of the Opposition NDP:

“Christy Clark made life worse for ordinary families. … The B.C. Liberals are using their cash surplus to make you forget there’s a deficit in the services people care about.”

Teresa Rezansoff, B.C. School Trustees Association:

“I am pleased to see that government has recognized the need for significant further investments in public education. A robust and effective K-12 education system is critical to the health and prosperity of the province.

Tim Pearson, Sierra Club B.C.:

“This budget offers 1950s thinking in response to 2017’s challenges. … It’s a budget blind to the need to transform our economy away from fossil fuels. It’s a budget blind to the potential jobs and prosperity that can be created with a realistic road map to a post-carbon economy. And it’s a budget that shows no meaningful commitment to climate action.”

Anne McMullin, Urban Design Institute:

“Increasing the property purchase transfer tax exemption threshold to $500,000 from $475,000 for first-time homebuyers will enable more locals and families to get onto the first rung of the property ladder.”

Glen Hansman, B.C. Teachers Federation:

“All of the funding increases announced today are because this government has been forced by the courts, by demographics and by public anger to finally respond to their record of underfunding our schools and students. … This budget is an admission that when it comes to education funding, the government has had it wrong all along. Fifteen years ago, they put tax cuts before kids. Students, parents, teachers and support staff were forced to pay the price.”

Chris Gardner, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.:

“The message in this budget is clear â€” when governments save and spend responsibly they can cut taxes, invest in construction projects and support small businesses.”

Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation:

“Instead of pledging a fair share of investment, the B.C. government has prioritized tax cuts that will benefit the wealthiest British Columbians most and give financial protections to polluting industries like liquefied natural gas.”

Jordan Bateman, Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation:

“Whatever the motive, pop the champagne corks â€” this 50-per-cent MSP cut is the broadest tax cut for British Columbians since (former premier) Gordon Campbell brought in a 10-per-cent income tax cut a decade ago.”

The Canadian Press

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