Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president at the right-leaning B.C. Business Council, said the NDP’s budgets are already “poised on a knife’s edge” and the real solution is to craft an economic development plan.
“If you have a severe economic downtown, then running a budget deficit is much more defensible,” he said. “We’re not in that position. We have an economy still growing. It’s not growing as fast as it was two or three years ago, but it’s still growing above the Canadian average.
“The second conundrum is that you’re talking about things like forest revenue being down, ICBC financial challenges, these are sort of transitory, they are not permanent necessarily. But to start enriching ongoing social programs and the social safety net, then you are hardwiring permanent cost increases into what government does.”
Difficult choices for an NDP government staring at the back half of its mandate. But choices that may ultimately determine whether voters give the party a second term in control of the provincial purse strings.