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Community: Compare reader priorities with actual B.C. budget Add to ...

On transportation, resource management, taxation and the arts, how does the B.C. Liberals’ budget stack up with suggestions from our readers?

We asked readers what they would like to see in the B.C. budget and we received 40 thoughtful responses. Below are some examples of what was submitted on a variety of subjects, compared with the positions outlined in the government’s budget.

TopicReader suggestions What’s in the budget
    

Natural resources

“B.C. absolutely needs to invest in, and become a leader in, renewable resource and conservation technologies. Smart futures lie in smart technologies just waiting to be uncovered and fine-tuned, not in the unimaginative, blinkered shipping of raw materials to other countries.” – Joanna Streetly, Tofino

“Enbridge pipeline support, higher stumpage fees, support for solar and wind energy (like Germany), clean water acts (no fracking), clean-air legislation enforcement beyond urban centres.” – Chris Dawson, Nelson

 
  • Reiteration of the B.C. Jobs plan and strides it has made, namely bringing in $4-billion in “natural-gas related commitments in 2012.”
  • No mention of renewable energy plans or fracking.
  • Globe story: Liberals to focus on LNG exports

 

 

 

 

Taxation & fees

“Reduce corporate tax credits – end corporate welfare! Increase personal tax rates if necessary. Remove MSP premiums entirely.” – John Balfour, Cranbrook

“Balance the budget through government restraint, modest tax increases where appropriate versus the Liberal strategy of myriad user fees, poorly implemented tax regimes (e.g. terrible HST rollout).” – Mr. Lucas, North Vancouver

 

  • Beginning January 2014, the personal income tax rate on income above $150,000 will increase by 2.1 percentage points to 16.8 per cent from 14.7 per cent. The increase is to expire in 2016.
  • Medical Services Plan premiums will increase by about four per cent effective Jan. 1, 2014
  • Tobacco taxes increase by $2 per carton effective Oct. 1.
  • Corporate income tax rate will increase by one percentage point to 11 per cent on April 1, 2013 — a year earlier than expected.
  • The industrial school property tax credit for light industry will be phased out over two years.

 

 

 

 

Transportation

“A lot more funding for cycling, walking and public transit.” – Richard Campbell, Vancouver

“Pull taxes from gas to lower the price of gas so we stay home and fuel up instead of going to the U.S. Add an appropriate percentage to our sales tax to pay for this and other transportation infrastructure. Distribute this income equitably to the communities.” – Niels Hartvig-Nielsen, Mission

“Active transportation infrastructure. More resources for improving access for cycling and walking and more educational dollars spent on informing drivers about other users.” – Jay MacDonald, North Vancouver

 

More than $3-billion in transportation projects over three years, including $800-million earmarked for public transit and $9-million for cycling infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

Arts & culture

“More funding for the arts. The arts help us all be human and take a deeper look at what we are doing on and to our planet. There are also many well respected studies that show how the arts bring in dollars to an economy and use the dollars given to them to hire a large pool of people. In other words, they make a few dollars go a long way and at the same time stimulate the economy.” – Linda Carson, Bowen Island

“New incentives for film and television production that match Ontario and Quebec's.” – Mike Crain, North Vancouver

 

No mention of the province's film sector in the budget speech, but $18-million committed to fund programming for kids in the arts.

 

 

 

 

Health care

“More investment in health innovation, services and capital projects like hospital expansion.” – Dave (last name withheld by request), Surrey

“I would like the provincial government to spend a little bit more on emergencies in the hospitals. We need a faster and more efficient solution to help people coming to emergencies. So perhaps more investments on health care.” – Amir Rigi, Coquitlam

 

  • Spending will increase by $2.4-billion over three years. Seven capital projects at hospitals will get an investment of $2.3-billion.
  • Health spending grew on average 7 per cent per year between 2005-2006 and 2008-2009. It was reduced to an average of 4.4 per cent in the next four years and the Liberals say they will constrict it to 2.6 per cent.

 

 

 

 

Knowledge economy

“Set up think tanks for innovation. This province is loaded with smart people, many of whom are retired. Use this knowledge base to help plan our collective future.” – Ken Neros, Coquitlam

 

Skills training infrastructure commitments at five institutions totalling $82.7-million, plus $17-million for new equipment.