THE numbers don't look good for Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals. Not the polling numbers, bleak though they remain for the Liberals, but the gloomy numbers released this week by Finance Minister Mike de Jong.
Kevin Falcon, de Jong's predecessor, forecast a $1-billion deficit for the financial year ending March 31, 2013. This for a government that had pledged to balance the books before the next election.
Wednesday, de Jong told the province its deficit had grown by 50 per cent in the past six months. Specifically, we're staring a deficit of $1.47 billion in the face, and this despite de Jong's previously announced austerity measures.
There are obvious reasons. One is the continuing decline in revenues from natural gas, now projected to drop some $250 million this year. Demand is down, prices are down, therefore tax revenue is down. Same situation with coal, leading to a decline of $144 million in forecasted revenue.
These are market forces that are outside of direct government control, and we have some sympathy for a government trying to make ends meet while forecast revenue vanishes.
But we'd have a lot more sympathy for Clark and Co. if they stopped spending our money on television ads to tell us what a great place we all live in.
Gordon Campbell, in his last year on the job spent $17.5 million on advertising. Clark has spent close to $64 million in two years.
We would rather see efforts to balance the budget that start in the premier's office, than get another geography lesson on where Canada starts.
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