Today’s provincial budget continues the BC NDP government’s successful work in building an economy that benefits everyone and creates more opportunities for working people to build better lives, CUPE BC President Paul Faoro said today.

“We’re very happy to see that under this government, the richest British Columbians—the 1 percent—will pay a little more to fund services and programs that benefit everyone,” said Faoro. “I’m also very pleased to see additional supports for low and middle-income post-secondary students so they can acquire the knowledge, skills, and training that are fundamental to success in today’s economy.

“This budget again puts the lie to right-wing and conservative arguments that the only way to balance a budget during challenging economic times is to slash and burn public services and government investment in infrastructure. Not only is the budget balanced, but it also projects continued modest surpluses over the fiscal plan, while at the same time funding record levels of investment in important public infrastructure all over the province.

“That’s good government, that’s good public policy, and it continues to repair the extensive damage of the BC Liberals’ 16 years in office when they ran the province almost exclusively to benefit their wealthy and well-connected donors,” said Faoro.

“While I am disappointed that public tax dollars are still helping fund elite private prep schools, and would prefer that 100 percent of the education budget went to public schools, overall this budget is good news for our public education system,” said Faoro. “That said, I’m also disappointed that funding for public libraries has not been increased, putting more pressure on these unique and important community hubs. We will continue to work with the BC Library Association to build public and political support for higher levels of funding for the public library system in our province, and hope to see action in the next provincial budget.

“Overall this is an excellent budget,” said Faoro. “It shows working people and their families that government can be a force for good. For more than a generation of CUPE members who knew only the mean-spirited, confrontational and divisive approach of the BC Liberals, this budget demonstrates why elections are so important, and why political action is essential.”