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OPINION – Budget 2021 – Canadian taxpayers Federation – B.C. must rein in runaway spending – Provincial Debt Jumping 45 Per Cent

Vancouver – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the government of British Columbia to rein in post-pandemic spending faster to avoid spiralling debt levels.

“While it’s good to see the budget deficit much less than most were projecting, the government is increasing the province’s debt by 45 per cent within the next four years and we can’t afford to keep spending like this,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

In 2019-20, the province spent about $58.9 billion, but the pandemic pushed spending up to $69.1 billion in 2020-21. In 2023-24, the province is still projecting to spend $68.9 billion.

“The government cannot get hooked on emergency spending when there’s no emergency years from now,” said Sims. “If you blow a tire on the Coquihalla Highway, that’s an emergency and it will cost a lot of money to call a tow truck, but you don’t keep calling a tow truck every weekend. Why are we planning on doing that with our provincial spending?”

The provincial debt is set to skyrocket from $87.4 billion in 2020-21 up to $127 billion in 2023-24, an increase of 45 per cent.

Interest payments on our provincial debt will increase from $2.7 billion per year to $3.1 billion per year, an increase in debt interest payment costs of 14 per cent.

“We are burdening our children and grandchildren with these increased costs,” said Sims. “It’s wrong for the adults in the room to stick the future generations with these bills.”

Other notable numbers in the budget:

  • Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the government to scrap the plan to spend $500 million on the InBC Investment Corp.
  • Government plans to return to balanced operating budgets in seven to nine years.
  • Carbon tax revenues to rise 8.9 per cent per year for next three years.
    Government collecting $1.9 billion in carbon tax in 2021-22.
  • Employer Health Tax revenues to rise 3.8 per cent per year for two years.
    Government collecting $1.9 billion in Employer Health Tax in 2021-22.                         

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