A budget should be a budget, not a PR document

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Let’s presume that my car broke down in 2017. It cost me $650 to repair it.

In 2018, I had another rough year and it broke down again. That time the bill ran up to $615. The absolute best year I’ve had with my car was in 2006 when I just paid $47 in repairs.

My mechanic has told me that I should expect to see more mechanical problems similar to those I had in 2017 and 2018.

Now, I’m just finishing up my budget for the next few years. I’m very pleased because once I’ve got all my income and expenses tallied up, it turns out I’ll be in the clear.

I’ll be saving $274 in 2019/20, $287 in 2020/21 and $585 in 2021/22.

Not only will we be saving money but I’ve even managed to budget in that beach vacation I’ve been promising my girlfriend.

Come the end of our 2019/20 fiscal year, my girlfriend is devastated. The budget is hundreds of dollars short.

“How could you be so dumb to budget only $101 for car repairs after what happened the previous two years?” she asks me.

“I didn’t think you’d stick with me if we didn’t go on that vacation.”

This about sums up the 2019 BC Budget. For the last two years, the province has paid $650 and $615 million in fire suppression.

The absolute best year was in 2006 with “only” $47 million in expenses. Meanwhile, experts have been warning that we should expect more extreme fire seasons. Yet despite all of this, 2019 BC Budget only predicts $101 million for fire suppressions for each of the next three budgets.

The predicted surplusses are $274 million, $287 million and $585 million for each of the next respective budgets. It’s pretty easy to see that this is a recipe for disaster (pun intended).

This doesn’t even take into account apparent shortages in funding for fire mitigation.

Furthermore, this is just one item on the budget. Now, obviously, the budget as a whole has some contingency funding but it seems like poor planning.

Whatever you may think of, have heard about or have read about the 2019 Budget, it’s important to keep in mind that if nothing else it’s an excellent PR opportunity.


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