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OPINION – Lower B.C. deficit is good news but big bills are coming – Taxpayers Federation

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Vancouver – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling for caution as the second quarter fiscal update shows progress on the deficit, but recent disasters will drive expenses up.

“While it’s good to see a much lower deficit number than was expected, we know this number won’t survive the destruction caused by the flooding,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “With the massive damage to our critical infrastructure, the government has to stop all non-essential spending and focus on the basics.”

Originally, the finance department projected a $9.7-billion deficit due to the COVID-19 crisis.

That deficit dropped down to $4.8 billion in the first quarterly report.

The current estimated budget deficit stands at $1.7 billion for the fiscal year 2021-22, but that does not include any of the money that will be required to rebuild highways, bridges, pipelines, railroads and flood mitigation infrastructure.

In its second quarter report, the B.C. government noted higher than expected tax revenues in several sectors, including:

  • $938 million more in personal income tax.
  • $96 million more in carbon and fuel taxes.
  • $257 million more in lottery and gaming.
  • $28 million more in liquor distribution.

“Victoria has to tighten its belt as we climb out of this latest disaster,” said Sims. “If the dual blows of a pandemic and flood have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be ready in case another unexpected emergency comes. We have to focus on spending on the essentials and hold the line on everything else.”

The province’s Second Quarterly Report can be read HERE.

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