Shypitka reacts to BC budget

Shypitka reacts to BC budget

Kootenay East MLA laments increased taxation, spending

The BC Budget was released by Finance Minister Carol James on Tuesday, with a projected surplus of $219 million and remaining in the black for the next two years.

The budget includes what the NDP have touted as historic investments in affordability issues such as housing and childcare, while other priorities include tackling real estate speculations and eliminating Medical Services Premiums, but adding a payroll tax.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka called the MSP changes taking from one hand and taking with another.

Shypitka added that before the government changed, the Liberals were planning to cut MSP in half and eliminating it, while the NDP have eliminated MSP, they’ve rolled the existing user fees into a payroll tax.

The payroll tax is expected to raise $1.9 billion per year as opposed to the $2.6 billion that was collected through the MSP fees.

Other health care initiatives in the budget included $1.5 billion increase in spending on care for seniors and providing primary care teams for those without a family doctor.

For childcare, the budget unveiled more than $1 billion over three years in spending that includes a child care benefit along with up to $350/month for licensed child care providers to reduce daycare fees.

With the plan, the NDP hopes to create 24,000 childcare spaces over the next three years.

Shypitka held the government’s feet to the fire over their childcare promises, noting their election platform featured a $10-a-day daycare plan that was absent from the budget.

“They wanted to make childcare affordable to all British Columbians, they ran on a big slogan that everyone deserves $10 a day daycare and I think everybody remembers that,” Shypitka said.

For housing, the budget announced $1.6 billion over three years, with $378 million committed to building 14,000 homes. Other funding initiatives include the creation of 2,500 new modular homes for low-income and social housing, while student housing got attention with an eye to creating 5,000 new student beds.

Shypitka said the housing plan from the budget was a far cry from the 114,000 new affordable units that the NDP promised during the election.

“It just speaks volumes on the character of this government and how they duped British Columbians once again in making false promises,” Shypitka said.

Other housing initiatives more specific to reigning in the rapidly unaffordable cost of living in places like Metro Vancouver include a speculation tax that is exempt on principal properties. The foreign buyers tax will also rise to 20 per cent in Metro Vancouver and be expanded to other urban areas such as Nanaimo and Kelowna.

The budget also tabbed $72 million for wildfire recovery and earmarked $9 million for the addition of 20 Conservation Officer Services members in the province, none of which are guaranteed to come to the East Kootenay.

But Shypitka said he was frustrated there was nothing mentioned about wildlife in the budget plan.

“There was a little blurb in there about having some program in place, but they never mentioned an independent third-party funding model separate from government,” Shypitka said, “in order to gather cash and facilitate scientific-driven data to incorporate a complete holistic wildlfie biodiversity land-use plan. This is what’s needed.”

It would have been such an easy item to add in, Shypitka continued.

“We’re talking about ecosystems, biodiversity, this is about addressing habitat loss…these are Green Party fundamentals, they’re fundamentals of mine and I think the NDP and any government would wrap their arms around it, yet they didn’t take the low hanging fruit here,” Shypitka said.

Other rural concerns focused on funding for fencing and cost recovery for lost livestock due to predation.

Shypitka also raised concerns about the camping reservation system for BC Parks, which has been overloaded with demand from out-of-province visitors in the summer and taking away camping opportunities for British Columbians.

With files from Kat Slepian and Tom Fletcher

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Tri-Kon will be delivering concrete barriers on Friday afternoon for a patio space that will be shared between Soulfood Farm to Table and Sakura.Trevor Crawley photo.
Outdoor patios in the works for downtown core

Efforts already underway to set up outdoor patios on Baker St. from four local business

The BC Wildfire Service will be conducting an ecosystem restoration burn near the old Kimberley airport next week. BC Wildfire Service file.
Ecosystem restoration burn planned for old Kimberley airport area next week

Burn could begin as early as Monday, April 12, 2021

From wall hangings to plant hangers, keychains and shelves, Radiant Knots creates a variety of pieces to suit for any taste and style.
Cranbrook Arts is Looking Radiant

Cranbrook Arts Featured Artist for the month of April is Radiant Knots.… Continue reading

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

The new 6,300 square foot Cranbrook Food Bank facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd 2 and is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
New Cranbrook Food Bank officially open to the public

The new facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd. 2 and open Monday, Wednesday, Friday

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alastair Grant
Flags drop, bells toll as Canadians remember special relationship with Prince Philip

‘He was often portrayed as a brisk or brusque, rough character… but it’s that other side of him, the caring individual who spent time with people and asked questions and showed compassion’

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read