Christy Clark’s first budget not exactly family-friendly

Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail

A year ago, while British Columbia’s premier-designate Christy Clark was waiting to collect the keys to her new office, she sketched out her “families first” agenda for government. It had been the central theme of her leadership bid, and she was ready to get to work to help families get ahead. A key promise was to hold the line on taxes….

And here is what she did: Increase the tax burden on families.

A middle-class family of four can expect to pay up to $187 more this year. Low-income families don’t catch a break either, with their tax bill rising by $152. And those figures do not include higher fees for services from Crown corporations such as BC Hydro, BC Ferries and the Insurance Corp. of B.C.

This week, asked how that squares with her tax commitment, she fell back on an old refrain: “We are not raising income taxes on people.”

Which is true – medical service premiums and the carbon tax went up instead…. Looking at the whole package, she said, B.C. is only in the middle of the pack among the provinces. She promised a fresh approach when weighing taxes in the future: “When a decision comes before cabinet, we will ask: How does this affect B.C. families?”

The budget Finance Minister Kevin Falcon tabled this week wasn’t a families budget. “This budget is about fiscal discipline,” he said as he introduced the plan. The big theme was digging B.C. out of deficit and maintaining a healthy investment climate….

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