No change of course means painful and unnecessary cuts continue

February 18, 2003

(Vancouver) In spite of superficial changes, the 2003 BC Budget moves ahead with the government's plan of deep spending cuts, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

"The government promised stable financial planning," says CCPA-BC Director Seth Klein. "But they are still desperately trying to pay for the income tax cuts with tax increases and spending cuts. This budget may give back a little, but it is far from a compassionate re-think of the government's plan. The income tax cuts remain in place, and BC is on track for more painful spending cuts over the next two years."

"The result of the tax and spending cuts has been upheaval for communities across BC, and a shift away from progressive income taxes to new taxes and fees that hit low- and middle-income people hardest. This budget fails to deliver the education dollars needed to maintain current services. It continues to take money out of social services. It continues to undermine important environmental protections with reduced capacity in the Water, Land and Air Protection and Sustainable Resource Ministries. And it fails to offer rural communities any significant hope for a more stable economic future."

"A few million dollars for transportation infrastructure will not make up for the office closures, lost jobs, and service cuts that are bleeding rural economies. The government cannot claim it is coming to the rescue of the "Heartland" when all it has to offer are a few bandaids."

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