EDITORIAL: Social planners

After half a generation of seemingly being suspended on the right, the pendulum of B.C.’s budgeting swung left this week.

Some of the measures in the NDP’s budget are just common sense that was badly overdue: forcing transparency in home ownership, targeting speculators and money launderers, ensuring that people pay the taxes the rest of us are required to.

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Others are more aggressive social policies – $5.2 billion in spending, including $1.6 billion for housing and $1,200 monthly child care subsidies for low-income families.

Some are describing it as something of a Robin Hood budget as most tax will come from those with the most wealth. School taxes will be going up for homes valued over $3 million. That of course will capture the North Shore’s waterfront mansions but also the humble ranchers that have been caught up in the maelstrom that is our housing market. It so happens, homeowners of that sort make up a lot of our constituency.

The government estimates these measures will bring in the billions in revenues needed to pay for the rest of their growing social agenda. But those revenues could falter if these policies have their intended effect and knock some sense back into our housing market.

Now we watch and see.

Response from critics has so far been frankly muted.

No budget will please everyone but it seems the NDP managed to deliver a tax-and-spend bill that will fix some major holes in the safety net without spending too much of their own political capital. Quite the coup indeed.

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