Quotes in response to the B.C. budget

The Canadian Press

VICTORIA - Some quotes from Tuesday's B.C. budget:

"We've fought our way back." — Finance Minister Mike de Jong.

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"We are asking people with a little more to give a little more." — de Jong on the personal income tax hike for those earning $150,000 and more.

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"We are quite concerned about the challenges we are facing in B.C. with respect to our competitiveness and unfortunately, this budget really doesn't say much about that," — Jock Finlayson, vice president of the Business Council of B.C., on the budget's increasing of corporate taxes to 11 per cent from 10 per cent one year earlier than planned.

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"This is, overall, a good-news budget for small businesses. We got the balanced budget and that's really important to us and our members." — Mike Klassen of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses.

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"Well I'm not sure who's the cat and who's the mouse, but I hope the other party comes out of the hole and show's us the cheese." — de Jong after being asked if the budget was playing a cat and mouse game with the Opposition New Democrats who also have promised to raise corporate income taxes and is pondering raising income taxes for high-income earners.

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"When the health-care budget is increasing over three years by 2.4 billion, asking for an additional five or six dollars a month, isn't easy. I think people understand increasingly,however, that health care is not free." — de Jong on hiking medical services premiums by four per cent.

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"We're concerned, given inflation and population growth, that (the increase to health-care funding) is just not going to cut it in terms of the unmet needs of our population. We have unfunded beds sitting out there, we have people in the community with mental illness and dual diagnosis, substance abuse issues that aren't being cared for the way they need to, we have seniors trying to survive in the community with lack of good support services — that's what we need to keep our system healthy and it's not there in this budget." — Debra McPherson, president of the B.C. Nurses Union.

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"The amount for education is a flat line in this budget. It didn't go up last year and it's not going up again, so big-ticket items like class size and class composition, it doesn't look like there's any plan in this budget to deal with those things." — Glen Hansman, second vice-president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation.

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"The carbon tax report came out with the budget and it declared B.C. is going to freeze one of its centrepiece policies on climate change, which is the carbon tax. That provided an incentive for both businesses and households to invest in cleaner technologies or adopt greener practices, and what the report was showing was it's working: It's actually helping B.C. reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time the B.C. economy has outperformed the rest of the country." — Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation.