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Kelowna  

Letnick: typical NDP budget

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick says Tuesday's provincial budget is standard fare when it comes to the NDP.

"There's hardly anything in the budget to expand the economy and, as we all know, if you don't have a strong economy, you don't have the taxes generated by the strong economy to pay for all the social programs that we all would love to have," said Letnick.

"More taxes, more spending and no long-term plan."

Letnick was not in the legislature for Carole James' budget speech. He was one of a handful of MLAs in lock-up with an advanced peek at the document.

What he says he saw while poring over the numbers is a lot of spending in the first year before hitting a "budget cliff," and then going down to nothing.

He cited school funding, which increases 3.4 per cent in 2019-2020, and goes up just 0.2 per cent the next two years.

Letnick says it's the same for colleges, which go from two per cent to 1.1 per cent.

"You look at health authorities, they have a 3.9 per cent increase in their budget for 2019-2020, then it goes down to 2.4 per cent, then down to 1.6 per cent."

Locally, Letnick says there is no mention of capital funding for schools.

"I'll have to make sure we get in front of the education minister over the next few months and press the issue of Rutland Middle School with him and his government," he said

"There's no new money for agriculture. It's basically three years of straight-line budget."

Letnick says the NDP are "rolling the dice," when it comes to balancing the budget, saying a big part of that is on one-time federal transfer payments.

He added the NDP's high-taxing, high-spending philosophy is not sustainable in terms of delivering social programs like health care and education. He says the middle class can only be taxed so much.

"If you really look at this budget, this budget is really on a wing and a prayer, hoping the current legacy of a strong economy left by the previous government continues. "I don't see that happening with all the uncertainty globally."



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