Imagine if governments engaged in a massive spending binge over the last decade, with the benefits falling to just a small part of the population and then hiked taxes four times to pay for it. Now imagine if they argued, in some Orwellian twist of illogic, that such excess generosity was fully funded, affordable, and sustainable this after the multiple tax hikes demonstrated they were not.
As labour and capital have become more and more mobile, jurisdictional competitiveness is becoming more important in securing and maintaining economic prosperity. A minimum requirement is to have taxes, regulations, and other important policies competitive with competing jurisdictions. To gain an advantage, jurisdictions need policies that differentiate themselves from competing jurisdictions.
As BCs recently minted Clark government works through its economic priorities, it would be well advised to consider worker choice laws.
On the last day of May, the government of British Columbia gave the back of its hand to Alberta and indirectly to the rest of Canada, which benefitsand could benefit morefrom continued development of Albertas oilsands. Claiming insufficient environmental protections, the BC government rejected the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring bitumen from Albertas oilsands to Kitimat, where it could be exported to markets in Asia.
Too often in politics, particularly during election campaigns, citizens conflate political brands with policy. That is, too often we make assumptions about the policies of political parties based on a perception rather than the reality of experience. Many assume, for example, that Conservatives care deeply about and pursue policies based on tradition, balancing budgets, and competitiveness while the NDP focus more on the poor and disadvantaged, strengthening unions, and restricting trade. The reality, however, is that policies are never that tightly woven with specific parties.
There is apparently no shortage of politicians with a not-so-secret Hollywood love affair: they love to throw tax sweeteners and direct subsidies at the film industry, this in an effort to lure film production to their province or state.
The latest starry-eyed politician is the British Columbia opposition leader, Adrian Dix. In his run-up to that provinces May election, the B.C. NDP leader has promised to up the film tax credit for labour costs to 40 per cent, up from 35 per cent.
April 1st is an important day for British Columbians and we're not referring to the Easter long weekend. On that day BC officially scraps the HST and in one fell swoop restores the old Provincial Sales Tax system.
But moving back to the PST will cause harm to the provincial economy and BC families will lose out on the increased prosperity and jobs that the HST would have encouraged. Since our province will be poorer with the PST, it falls on our political leaders to take action to lessen the impact.
More than three years after the end of the recession and British Columbias provincial government continues to struggle with deficits, which as of the last quarterly update will likely exceed $1.5 billion. Relying on revenues to rebound enough to catch up with spending just doesnt work as BCs own history aptly demonstrates. Similarly, municipalities across the province continue to struggle to find sufficient resources for infrastructure needs while balancing their books.
Going by Finance Minister Mike de Jong's public comments, Tuesday's provincial budget is supposed to present a plan to finally balance the books. But after four consecutive years in the red, British Columbians can't yet breathe a collective sigh of relief. Critically important is how Minister de Jong plans to eliminate the deficit. Will he take the path of tax increases or spending reductions?
When Canadas premiers recently met in Halifax, talks of a possible pipeline to move oil from Alberta to eastern Canada dominated national headlines. There was also mention of talks about trade, immigration, skills training, and infrastructure. One issue that didnt receive nearly as much attention is the management of public finances and growing government debt.