BC Liberal Budget Balanced on Soaring Rates
February 18, 2014
Without Crown Corp Revenue Budget Would be Deficit
Victoria – While British Columbians face soaring BC Hydro rates of 25 per cent, the BC Liberal government continues to take about a billion dollars from the crown utility per year including the dividend, water rentals and taxes to claim a balanced budget, says the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (MoveUP).
The 2014 budget and fiscal plan projects the government’s BC Hydro dividend alone to be $410 million.
“People are squeezed these days,” said MoveUP President David Black. “Schools are struggling to keep the lights on. The responsible thing to do would be to keep the money in BC Hydro instead using it to prop up their budget. Really, they’re moving debt off their backs onto the backs of the people of this province.”
“This government created most of the rate pressure through a decade of misguided energy policies,” said MoveUP Legal Director Jim Quail. “BC Hydro’s debt has ballooned due to private power obligations, out-of-control deferral accounts and questionably managed capital projects. Instead of shielding ratepayers from the effects of their mistakes, the government is choosing to continue to take the dividend and pretend as though nothing is wrong.”
MoveUP represents the inside workers at BC Hydro and the employees of the Insurance Corporation of BC. The BC Liberals are also calling on ICBC to improve government’s bottom line. ICBC will be diverting $200 million from their coffers to government’s general revenue. In 2013 they transferred $237 million.
“Drivers in BC should be paying less for their insurance,” said MoveUP Vice-President Annette Toth. “ICBC was never intended to be a funnel for money from drivers to government – that only started under the BC Liberals in 2006.”
The dividends from ICBC and BC Hydro alone add up to a whopping $610 million straight from the pockets of British Columbians.
MoveUP Communications Director