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Election budget ‘balanced’ on backs of working families, students—CUPE BC

Election budget ‘balanced’ on backs of working families, students—CUPE BC

VICTORIA—The BC Liberal government’s final budget is nothing more than political posturing in advance of the May provincial election, CUPE BC Secretary-treasurer Mark Hancock said today.

“Once again we see the BC Liberals playing fast and loose with the numbers—and the truth,” said Hancock. “Finance Minister Mike de Jong claims to have balanced the budget through reduced spending and increased revenue, but it’s where that revenue comes from—and where the spending is reduced—that shows the Liberals’ real priorities.”

Budget 2013 effectively cuts funding to education and health care, despite a projected increase in enrolment and an aging population. On the revenue side, it increases Medical Services Plan premiums, and again increases the cost of tuition at post-secondary institutions.

“The real cost of balancing the budget—even if we accept this thoroughly discredited government’s assumptions—is being paid out of the pockets of working families, students and those least able to afford higher fees and service charges,” said Hancock.

“We won’t know whether the numbers in this budget are real until well after the election. The Liberals’ last pre-election budget understated the deficit by more than $1 billion. Once again the Liberals are saying ‘trust us’ to voters at the same time they increase MSP premiums, make continued cuts to post-secondary education, and reduce funding increases to health care, despite our aging population.”

Budget 2013 continues the BC Liberal government’s sell-off of “surplus” public assets like schools and health care facilities.

“Instead of working with local communities to see how so-called ‘surplus’ government properties could facilitate local economic development, we see another fire sale of public assets to pay for Liberal mismanagement,” said Hancock. “We’ll never know how many local jobs or opportunities for entrepreneurs those properties could have facilitated as the Liberals sell off the household furniture to pay the mortgage.”

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