BC Finance Minister Carole James’s third provincial budget continues the NDP government’s shift toward making life more affordable for working people and creating more opportunities for people to succeed, according to CUPE BC President Paul Faoro.
“We’re pleased to see the government build on last year’s budget, with continued significant investments in programs and services that support working people and provide more opportunities for success, while at the same time building a fairer, more sustainable economy that works for everyone,” said Faoro. “Carole James and Premier John Horgan have pulled off a very difficult balancing act—building the fastest growing economy in the country with the lowest unemployment rate while at the same time taking action on housing affordability.
“I’m also very glad to see the historic revenue-sharing agreement between the province and BC First Nations,” said Faoro. “It’s an important step in the long road to true, meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous people in BC, and it shows just how committed the BC NDP government is to self-government and self-determination for First Nations.”
After 16 years of BC Liberal governments making it harder—and more expensive—for students to attend post-secondary education, today’s announcement that interest will be removed from student loans is great news for students, their families and the economy. Faoro said CUPE K-12 education workers will be glad to learn that Budget 2019 includes a $73 million commitment over three years to cover the Employers Health Tax for school districts.
“While I am disappointed that public tax dollars are still helping fund elite private prep schools, and would prefer that 100 per cent of the education budget went to public schools, overall this budget is good news for our public education system,” said Faoro.
“Finally, the actions the BC NDP government is taking to fight poverty are truly impressive. Under the BC Liberals, our province had the highest rate of kids living in poverty in the entire country, and that was the direct result of wrongheaded economic policies that Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark developed and implemented, and that Andrew Wilkinson continues to support and campaign for,” said Faoro. “This budget shows how essential it is to elect progressive governments, and to ensure we continue to remember the disastrous and incompetent fiscal management of the previous BC Liberal government.”