BC Budget 2006 claims to focus on children, but does it actualy fund their needs?

BC’s provincial government brought down their budget today in the legislature. Finance Minister Carole Taylor lauded her budget as balanced and primarily for children. The question remains: will it actually fund their needs?

An initial overview of the budget materials and commentaries shows indicates that, in terms of education spedning, we are only approaching 2001 funding levels. However, this does not take into account increased costs due to inflation or government mandated increases to salaries and MSP since 2001. BCTF Press Release
VANCOUVER, Feb. 21 /CNW/ – The 2006 provincial budget doesn’t address any of the critical issues that teachers fought to bring to the top of the political agenda through their strike last fall.

“Teachers took tremendous risks and showed great courage in standing up for students’ learning conditions. Unfortunately, this budget suggests that the government learned nothing from our job action,” said BCTF President Jinny
Sims. Continue reading BCTF Press release here

David Shreck on Politics in BC
The Campbell government’s news release promoted the February 2006 budget with the headline “Budget 2006 Concentrates on B.C.’s Children”. Some say it could be called Sherry’s budget, in honour of Sherry Charlie, but she isn’t the only child whose name is associated with the Campbell cuts. An alternative is to call it “Ted’s Budget” in anticipation of the report that will be released by Ted Hughes on April 7th. The budget tried to support the claim that it concentrates on children by saying that an additional $421 million would be available to help vulnerable children and their caregivers; the fine print noted that the $421 million is over four years. If that makes budget 2006 the “Children’s Budget” then consider what the September 2005 mini-budget should have been labeled; that’s when Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced $143 million per year, $569 million over four years, in corporate tax cuts even though not a single word was said about that tax gift during the May 2005 election campaign. When the Campbell government had a choice it put corporate tax cuts a year ahead of restoring cuts to child protection, and it gave 35% more to corporations than to child protection. Continue reading Shreck’s commentary.

CBC news coverage
The B.C. government says child protection is its priority in this year’s budget, and has announced plans to increase spending on a host of programs for children at risk and families.
Full CBC coverage here.

CTV news coverage
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s “little ones” were the focus of a budget Tuesday that was dominated by spending on children but which also provided tax relief for homeowners and more money to train workers as the province faces a shortage of skilled labour. Download full story.

Globe and Mail news coverage

VICTORIA — Fuelled by a strong economy and with the 2010 Olympic Games in mind, the British Columbia government yesterday brought in a “quiet,” balanced budget that offered modest tax relief and sought contract peace with public-sector workers.Download full story.

BC Government Materials
Every new budget is an opportunity for British Columbia to take another step forward. Last year’s budget focused on seniors. This year, the budget concentrates on improving services that support, nurture, educate and protect B.C. children. BC Government Budget Highlights here.

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