Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quick comments on the BC budget

I am sick this week so I have not been able to pay attention to the details of the budget as much as I would normally would have, but here are some quick comments:

Is the $495 000 000 deficit realistic? There is no budgetary margin for error as in the past and that is not good in my opinion. There remains a significant danger that revenues may be worse than expected, but I see that the revenue projections look realistic. I really dislike having the government put capital expenditures outside of the budget. In 2009/10 this adds another $3 000 000 000 to the provincial debt.

I am happy to see the carbon tax continue, it is the single most effective way to place a price on green house gases. Cap and Trade in Europe is leading to some odd results and seems to be a bureaucratic nightmare.

Government does not spend enough time focusing on doing more with less, there is no central drive to find innovative and efficient ways to accomplish the work of government. My hope is that this budget and the downturn will push government towards innovation in delivery of services.

Going forward with the Highway #37 electrification is a very good thing, I am glad to see it happen. The MLA that can take credit for keeping this going is Ralph Sultan, there are few MLAs that understand economics and BC as well as he does. Not only will this transmission line allow for development in the north west for mining companies and forestry, it will also open up the area for the development of green power.

I am glad to see that the budget does not have a whole bunch pork barrel capital projects.
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