Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Throne restraint to the wind

The B.C. Throne Speech delivered on August 25 sets a tone of fiscal restraint, but that is undermined by a continued commitment to green madness.

When the premier said "I hate budget deficits, I think they take away from future generations," he was right. Deficits tend to spiral out of control, creating a legacy of debt and higher taxes for present and future taxpayers.

This government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and now finally appears to be cutting back on the spending spree, in some areas at least.

What wasn't announced, merely hinted at, was relief to families from the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax. That should come on September 1 when the new budget is introduced. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has been calling for income tax cuts to help families bear the burden of increased costs for goods and services now subject to a higher sales tax.

But the government is not jumping off the global warming bandwagon. It will be breaking yet another key election commitment by meddling with the mandate of the B.C. Utilities Commission. The mandate of the BCUC is to keep costs low for electricity users, not approve projects just because the premier thinks they are a good idea.

Remember that the B.C. Utilities Commission rejected BC Hydro's deal with Alcan - that deal was proclaimed by the premier on one of his pedestals. BC Hydro had to renegotiate with Alcan and ended up bringing a $65-120 million in savings for electricity users. If we lose the safeguard against meddling for political purposes, electricity rates will skyrocket.

Continuing to pursue green job creation will mean job destruction, just as it has where it has already been tried. Since 2000, Spain, the country used by President Obama as an example of how to create green jobs, has lost 2.2 jobs in the non subsidized sectors such as mining and food processing for every so called green job created. That's because the tax dollars to create green jobs are diverted from productive sectors of the economy. Subsidized jobs are unsustainable, no matter their colour.

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