A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Friday, February 23, 2007

BC Budget, Save the Rich, Starve the Poor

The British Columbia Government legislates a ten percent tax cut, gives welfare moms and single employables and extra $50 a month for food, and $50 for their landlords. Meanwhile they ignore the need for social housing, setting up instead, new emergency shelters to hide the homeless during the Olympics. People earning over $70,000 annually get back about $40 a month. Persons on disability get $50 to give to their landlords, childcare is cut and all the while the province enjoys a billion dollar plus surplus.

If you’re earning $70,000 a year the new BC tax cut gives you about $40 a month.
What’s that, a light dinner out with and a movie with your best bud once a month. A good bottle of Scotch goes for about that these days, doesn’t it?
Tell me something, could anyone out there provide daily lunches for their nine year old on $40 a month?
I guess that’s why the Campbell Liberals gave the welfare mom’s an extra $50. Come to think of it, could anyone out there provide daily lunches to their nine year old for $50 a month?
Anyone out there looked at the rental ads in the papers lately?
Cheapest bachelor, or one bedroom pad you can find is about $450 a month, most are in the $500 to $800 range. The shelter allowance for a single person provides only $375 a month. A couple with one child now get about $750. Two bedrooms don’t start below $600, its worse in the big city, and are most often over $800.
Know what a guy earning $10 an hour with a wife and kid makes, about $400 a week before taxes. By time he pays the rent and the bills, over half his monthly income is gone.
Know how much he gets back in the tax cut? Nada, zero!
You know what happens when you give welfare recipeints a raise in their shelter allowance?
The rent goes up!
Know where that shelter allowance raise goes?
To a slum landlord!
You know what happens when you give welfare recipients and extra $50 a month for support and food?
Most often it goes to pay the part of the rent their shelter allowance doesn’t cover. If they are lucky enough to have a rent within the allowance, that extra money goes to food.
How many dinners does $50 buy you?
Know why there’s not enough houses?
Because if there were enough houses people wouldn’t be willing to pay so much for a house!
Know who that would hurt?
It would hurt developers and real estate markets.
Know how much money people in real estate and development make a year? Know how much their tax cut is?
Its a lot more than $40 a month!
How many nine year olds could you feed on a lot more than $40 a month?
Know who has to pay when housing markets are high?
The guy who’s currently getting a $10 to $40 a month tax break! That’s you buddy.
Know what would happen if the government were to build houses and turn abandoned buildings in apartments?
People would have homes!
Know how much they’d pay for those homes?
Less than now!
You know who building homes would help?
Well, the homeless for starters. The carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, truck drivers, building supply companies, young couples starting out, retirement people looking for a smaller home. Most people, except maybe the folks who already live in great big houses they paid too much for, and of course, the developers and speculators, who would have to work a whole lot harder.
So, what are you going to do with your extra $40 a month?
I’ll tell you right now, you’re going to drop it on some government service that used to be free!
Too bad, it could have fed and housed a nine year old for a night!

I would like to challenge every politician in BC who claims to be concerned about the plight of the poor and homeless in this province, every social service worker, every mental health worker, every medical professional, every media employee, every school teacher, and anyone else earning a decent wage in the province of BC, who has ever expressed concern about homelessness and poverty, to send back their ten percent tax cut to the government and demand that it be used to build and provide social housing and decent income assistance rates for the down and out in this province.
I would also like to challenge every landlord in the province who is about to levy a rental increase on his tenants because of the new shelter allowance to give his or her share of the tax cut back to those tenants living on social assistance.
It is time to do more than just talk about the poor. We need to take action, and make it clear to the Campbell government that it is obscene to cut taxes whilst so many people are homeless, hungry or living in dire straits.
Yes, British Columbia may well be the most beautiful place on earth, physically, but lets also make it the most beautiful place on earth by showing our compassion for those who have not. And lets demonstrate to the provincial government that it is time to put our actions where all our rhetoric is. If the working people of this province make it clear they are prepared to anti up, to resolve the pressing social issues we face, then maybe the government will finally act.
Let’s do what our government is apparently afraid to do, let’s step beyond the rhetoric and take matters into our own hands. Let’s show the country that BC is not only beautiful, but its people are as well.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home