Budget 2016 gets criticism from Opposition New Democrats

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. — Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced his fourth consecutive surplus budget in Victoria yesterday, again boasting that B.C.’s triple-A credit rating puts it in a unique position atop all provinces.The budget, with a surplus of $264 million dollars, offered some limited relief regarding Medical Services Premiums, although the changes will not take effect until next year, and a modest $77 a month increase in disability payments.Mr. De Jong also fulfilled a government promise made in the 2013 election campaign pledging to create a so-called LNG Prosperity Fund with a $100 million deposit, even though he still doesn’t have a final investment decision on any proposed LNG project, raising the question — Where does the money come from?- Advertisement -Meantime, the overall budget reaction was again split and followed what has become a familiar pattern, with the BC Chamber of Commerce, the provincial Association for Mineral Exploration and the Vancouver Board of Trade leading the cheerleader’s group, and the latter giving Mr. De Jong an overall A grade.NDP Opposition leader John Horgan was again in front of the critic’s line calling the prosperity fund a ‘fantasy fund,’ and the disability payment increase a pittance, which amounts to an increase of less than one percent over a nine year span.Others lining up behind the New Democrats were the BC Federation of Labor, the BC Teachers Federation, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Pembina Institute, the Western Canadian Wilderness Committee and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond — B.C.’s Children watchdog, who says a $65-million influx of cash into the Ministry of Children and Family Development is only going to help fill a budgetary hole which has been years in the making.Advertisementlast_img

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