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NDP platform full of shortfalls, bad for industry: BC Liberals

The New Democratic Party platform is built on faulty assumptions that could create an unplanned $468 million shortfall and stifle industry, according to an analysis released yesterday by the B.C. Liberals.

In yesterday’s NDP plan, the party stuck to its decision to cut the controversial carbon tax, which it estimated would reduce government revenues by $1.8 billion over three years.

The ruling party pointed out that projected revenues – when yearly increases of $5 a tonne are taken account – actually total $2.3 billion, according to the 2009 Budget.

“Therefore, even if every revenue projection and assumption materializes as [The NDP assumes], their plan has an immediate $468 million shortfall over the next three years,” reads the B.C. Liberal analysis.

The NDP plan proposes about $1.7 billion in increased program spending over the current ruling party's budget. To help close the gap, the platform contains reallocations to government spending worth $1.2 billion.

That includes cuts to executive salary increases, a smaller public affairs bureau, less government travel and fewer contracts.

Carole James could cut all travel expenses and executive pay hikes and eliminate the entire bureau, the ruling party said. But new revenues for this year would only total $90 million out of the NDP's targeted $250 million.

“That means the remaining $160 million would come out of community grants and contracts with workers,” reads the analysis.

The NDP also propose about $1.1 billion in new taxes like a $412 million levy on the oil and gas sector for flaring at gas wells. Such measures would have "devastating impacts" on industry, according to the B.C. Liberals.

“Oil and gas contributes over $2 billion a year in total revenue to government -- $400 million in taxes on that industry would cause investment to diminish and revenues along with it,” reads the analysis.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Hook.

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