WATCH (above): Finance Minister Mike de Jong vows the provincial budget surplus will not go toward ending the BC teachers’ dispute. Kylie Stanton reports.
B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong revealed today the province is on track for a balanced budget and an increased surplus of $266 million but also said, the extra revenue will not be directed towards settling the teachers’ dispute.
Using some concrete examples to help put it into perspective for taxpayers, de Jong released some numbers on what it would take to cover the $300 million gap in order to meet the BC Teachers’ Federation’s demands.
“To simply accede to the demands to the union leadership, would, if we were funding it from a particular source, would see the average property tax increase by $200 a year or the gas tax increased by 5 cents a litre,” de Jong said.
“They suddenly begin to appreciate the magnitude of this in terms of what the average British Columbian can understand and that’s only in respect to the demands of the teachers’ union. The effect that would have on other negotiations and past negotiations, you could multiply that by two or three, and you begin to see that what’s at stake here are billions of dollars.”
The finance minister also included raising sales tax to 7.5 per cent or a $200 increase to school property tax as options on how the BCTF $300 million binding arbitration could be funded.
Tomorrow B.C. teachers will vote to end the strike if the government agrees to binding arbitration and also drops clause E80. The results of the vote are expected to be released between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday night.
WATCH (below): The finance minister might have scared taxpayers with his suggestion about what it would cost to make up the B.C. teachers contract gap. Keith Baldrey weighs in.