Forty BC economists call on the BC Government to reconsider spending cuts

February 7, 2002

Vancouver--Forty British Columbia economists and political economists from across the province today called on the BC government to rethink its planned spending cuts.

In advance of the February 19 provincial budget, the economists have issued an open letter to Premier Campbell and Finance Minister Collins. The Premier and Finance Minister claim a looming "structural deficit" gives them no choice but to significantly cut spending over the next three years. The signatories to today's letter dispute this view.

"The letter demonstrates that, while a handful of business economists support the government's approach, many economists strongly disagree," says Seth Klein, BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

"This government is making major mistakes in fiscal policy," says signatory Gideon Rosenbluth, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UBC and former president of the Canadian Economics Association.

The endorsers represent a broad spectrum of expert economic opinion. The signatories include six professors emeritus, 18 university academics (including a number of departmental chairs), and seven college-level economics instructors.

"Now is not the time to cut spending, government programs and capital projects, and it is certainly not the time to cut access to welfare and welfare benefit rates," states the letter. "If the government proceeds with its announced spending cuts, economic growth will decline, economic recovery will be delayed, and unemployment will increase."

The drafting and circulation of the letter was coordinated by the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.