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Bloggers generally oppose budget update

B.C.'s blogosphere is giving the new provincial budget update generally negative reviews, though at least one blogger says he likes the HST.

Bernard von Schulmann at BC Iconoclast thinks it's a good tax for business, especially retail and manufacturing -- but with a challenge for the self-employed:

Those of us who are self employed and operate businesses that have almost all the value added in one transaction will be paying lot more in taxes. I suspect I will be paying about three times as much HST as I pay GST now. Though I will simply be adding that cost to my bills to clients.

Secrets of Vancouver strongly disagrees: "The deficit of $2.8 billion would have been 4.2 billion if Victoria had not accepted a $1.6 billion bribe to harmonize the sales tax to a staggering 12% on an expanded list of everything that GST is charged on… and more. Even used cars now will get a new tax making them even more out of line than they already are."

Harvey Oberfeld at Keeping it Real sees the budget update as strictly for business: "Should business, in a province that already boasts it has the second lowest taxes in the country …get even more? On the backs of others? Especially when the government is facing a $2.8 Billion deficit this year alone … and an estimated $5.6 Billion over the next four years?"

The Left Coast described a bloggers' conference call with Bruce Ralston, NDP finance critic:

My question to Bruce Ralston was, "what would the New Democrats have done differently with this budget while recognizing the economic reality that the province is currently in? And please move beyond the usual of saying protect healthcare and education."

Ralston started his response by saying that the NDP would have run a larger deficit in this budget and put more money into a stimulus package. Money spent on infrastructure like the long awaited Evergreen Line, social housing and green infrastructure investments. He added that there is some $250 million tied to social housing that the BC Liberals are sitting on; they are not spending it on social housing and he is not sure what they are doing with those dollars.

He did add that they would have trimmed the usual non-essential spending, things like travel budgets. The point he emphasized was that a New Democrat government would have crafted the budget so as to be less damaging to the people of BC.

(For another take on the conference call, see Northern BC Dipper.)

Sean Holman at Public Eye Online offers a string of posts and video clips from the budget lock-up and the speech.

And at The Sneer, we're told that Gordon Campbell is "The Last Non-Keynesian":

The world over is bowing to the basic Keynesian idea that government is to spend when the economy shrinks and save when the economy expands. Government spending is calculated to avoid vicious downward spirals of increasing unemployment and decreasing consumer spending.

So why, in the midst of worldwide stimulus, is the Province of British Columbia cutting government spending? Even Campbell must know that funding cuts create unemployment, decrease consumer spending, and destimulate the economy. Campbell must want the Province of British Columbia to sink into a vicious spiral, leaving thousands idle and disgruntled. The net effect of his policies is a population that is economically inactive but politically active: a general strike. That Campbell. What a crafty subversive.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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