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Local MLAs say B.C. budget fails to meet residents’ needs

The MLAs for Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke are disappointed in the provincial budget, saying it fails to meet the needs of B.C.’s residents.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka said the province’s budget fails to take advantage of B.C.’s natural resource sector.

“As the rest of the world passes by and all the needs and demands are out there, B.C. – one of the richest jurisdictions in the world when it comes to natural resources – is sitting idly by and waiting,” said Shypitka. “This budget increases spending on new ministries and bureaucrats, only to delay the process further.”

Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok criticized the provincial spending plan for the projected deficit of $7.9 billion in 2024-25.

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“It’s a complete disregard of taxpayer money and the realistic needs of British Columbians,” said Clovechok. “Instead of bringing relief to people who are struggling, the NDP is spending more than ever.”

Shypitka echoed that point.

“This is a red ink budget. This is the largest inflationary deficit we have ever seen in the history of British Columbia,” said Shypitka. “An $8 billion deficit this year, and it’s going to climb to $28 billion more by 2027.”

Shypitka feels the province has not been meeting its expectations, despite its spending.

“Are we seeing the resources and support systems for everything like mental health, crime and the opioid epidemic? I would argue against anyone who could say yes to that,” said Shypitka. “We’re seeing crazy spending and nothing in return.”

Clovechok said one good point in the budget was a plan to increase spending on rural transit.

“We need transportation all the way up from Golden down to Cranbrook,” said Clovechok. “I was pleased to hear that, but I don’t know what it’s going to look like, whether it’s health care transportation or general rural transportation. That was the one silver lining that I saw.”

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