Kris Sims, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

BRITISH COLUMBIA –  The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the government of British Columbia to shrink the deficit after the release of the first quarter update.

“Seeing the debt jump up by billions is deeply concerning,” said Kris Sims, BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Our provincial debt is now nearly $88 billion. Just covering the interest payment on the debt will cost BC taxpayers more than $2.7 billion this year.”

The BC finance ministry released its quarterly update on the province’s financial situation known as the Q1 report. The deficit is now projected to be $12.8 billion. On July 14, the deficit was projected to be $12.5 billion. Provincial interest payments on the debt are already about three times the amount that was budgeted for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure this year.

“Families and businesses in BC have been finding ways to save money as they get through this tough economic time so it’s disappointing to see this government deficit is now higher than it was in July,” said Sims. “The BC government needs to find ways to save money too. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck with bills for huge interest payments every year and our kids and grandkids will be weighed down with this debt.”

The BC government’s revenues are $4.6 billion below budget. Drops in sales tax revenue, income tax revenue and natural resource revenues account for nearly $3.4 billion.

“Our high-skilled and high-paying natural resource sector jobs are vital so this government needs to do all it can to get out of the way and allow projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline to be completed,” said Sims.

Kris Sims is BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation