Liberals gouge B.C. families to pad government accounts

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VICTORIA – The release of Public Accounts today shows that the majority of the tabled surplus is actually a result of the B.C. Liberal government gouging B.C. families with increased fees and licencing costs, say the New Democrats.

“This government says they are bringing in a modest surplus, but what they aren’t telling the public is that it’s the result of charging hard-working British Columbians more for things like Medical Service Premiums,” said New Democrat finance critic Mike Farnworth.

“Families are already stretched to the limit when it comes to affording the basic necessities, yet this government thinks it’s completely acceptable to gouge hard-working people with increased fees across the board.”

Farnworth was responding today to the release of Public Accounts from the 2013-14 financial year. The report shows that 86 per cent, or $303 million, of the government’s published surplus of $353 million was derived from an “Increase in fees and licenses.”

“The fee increases include another Medical Service Premium increase of four per cent,” added Farnworth. “This year, like each of the last five years, when families came to insure themselves and their children for health services, the Liberal government demanded that they pay more. In the meantime, the Liberal government spent less on health than they budgeted for in 2013-14 despite a crisis in many B.C. hospitals.”

“These fee increases don’t even include the 28-per-cent hydro hike the Liberals forced onto families or rate increases at ICBC,” said Farnworth. “British Columbians are tired of broken promises and they’re tired of paying for this government’s mismanagement.”