Provincial debt and hidden debt on the rise in B.C., say New Democrats

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VICTORIA – New Democrats are calling for a plan to address the province’s rising hidden debt, which has reached nearly $100 billion under the B.C. Liberals.

“The government has locked British Columbian taxpayers into nearly $100 billion in contractual obligations, many of which we know very little about,” said New Democrat finance critic Mike Farnworth. “British Columbians deserve to know how the government came to rack up a hidden debt that eclipses the official provincial debt, and what it plans to do to fix this.

In a 2011 report, B.C.’s Auditor General warned the government about the escalating cost of these contracts and recommended providing more disclosure, said Farnworth.

Public accounts from the 2012/13 financial year, released today, revealed that the government is dramatically off track on their election promises to eliminate B.C.’s debt and balance the province’s budgets.

“This government’s fact-free election campaign promised British Columbians real action on the provincial debt. But that debt rose faster than ever before last year, climbing by $5.6 billion, and is on track to break that record next year,” said Farnworth.

This year’s deficit was $178 million higher than expected – with a surplus of only $153 million projected in bogus budget 2013, it appears the Liberals are on the road to their fifth straight deficit budget.

“This government, which campaigned on debt elimination and fiscal prudence, is quickly proving that these commitments were just words on the side of their campaign bus, not a plan for B.C.’s future,” said Farnworth.

New Democrats are calling for a plan to address B.C.’s hidden debt, and will continue to hold the government to account for its escalating debt and out-of-control spending.