B.C. isn’t broke: Putting teacher bargaining in perspective

By Iglika Ivanova, Posted to http://rabble.ca  March 3, 2012
“Let’s start with the budget. This year’s budget falsely claims that the proverbial cupboard is bare and that nothing can be done to meet any of B.C.’s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges. What this really means is that the provincial government is asking us, asking the poor and middle-class families to tighten our belts, to make sacrifices and wait for the economy to get stronger before our issues can be addressed.But in reality, the cupboard isn’t bare. The constraints the government appears to be facing are neither economic nor fiscal. They are political.

The fact is that the B.C. economy is in recovery. Growth is not as strong as it was in the mid-2000s, but it is present. The economy is projected to grow by about four per cent per year. Government revenues are growing along with the economy, also by about four per cent. Government spending, however, is only growing by two per cent. This means that effectively, the size of government is shrinking relative to the size of our economy. And this is not new — the size of government spending as a share of the economy has fallen quite dramatically over the last decade. In 2000, government spending was roughly at 22 per cent of our economy, last year it was down to 20 per cent and with this new budget, it is projected to fall further over the next couple of years. This may sound like small changes, but with the B.C. economy at over $200 billion per year, a two percentage point decrease (from 22 per cent to 20 per cent) amounts to more than $4 billion dollars per year.

So does the government have no money because the recovery is slow or is the crunch caused by government shrinking its size deliberately over the last decade? You tell me.”

Read More: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/policynote/2012/03/bc-isnt-broke-putting-teacher-bargaining-perspective

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