AFTER the BC NDP introduced its latest budget, Surrey’s BC Liberal MLAs say they are concerned the government’s plan for the coming year fails to address Surrey residents’ priorities. Like last week’s Throne Speech, Budget 2019 contains noticeable gaps in areas like education, affordability, and transportation.
“Education is a priority across the province, and especially in Surrey where thousands of students still study in portables,” says Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Marvin Hunt. “We’re nearing two years since the NDP promised to have cut the number of Surrey school portables in half, but this issue has fallen completely off the government’s radar. Eliminating portables doesn’t even come up once in the entire budget.”
While government has put some new money towards building schools, the investment will not keep up with Surrey’s population growth. Schools in many catchments are full, making an overall reduction in school portables unlikely. With no new major capital investments south of the Fraser, there are no new seats for either K to 12 or post-secondary students in this budget.
School construction isn’t the only area where projects have been delayed. Major transportation projects like the Surrey SkyTrain and George Massey Tunnel replacement have also stalled.
“Once again, the NDP has abandoned commuters battling traffic south of the Fraser,” says Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux. “With no new money in this budget for Surrey SkyTrain and no money to replace the Massey Tunnel, Surrey commuters are bracing for at least another year without relief.”
“This budget comes as taxpayers are still reeling from this government’s Speculation Tax, which has all homeowners in areas like Surrey filing an exemption to avoid paying this misnamed tax,” adds Hunt. “But despite new taxes, Surrey residents are still waiting for much-needed investments in their community.”
“This budget shows the NDP still has no plan to create high-paying jobs that hard-working British Columbians need,” concludes Surrey-White Rock MLA Tracy Redies. “Their own throne speech indicates people are holding down two jobs to make ends meet, but where are the plans to encourage companies to invest in B.C. and create those jobs? Meanwhile they have introduced 19 new and increased taxes which does nothing to make life more affordable for British Columbians.”