Restore health care and education services with provincial budget surplus — poll

News release

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Two out of three British Columbians believe the billion dollar budget surplus forecast by the Campbell Liberal government should be used to restore services such as health care and education, according to a Mustel Group poll conducted for the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Twenty-five per cent support debt reduction, while only 12 per cent support a tax cut as a result of the surplus.

Support for restoring services like health care and education with the budget surplus was especially high among women (73 per cent).

“Nobody should be surprised by the public’s clear preference for restoring public services over tax cuts and debt reduction,” says HEU’s acting secretary-business manager Zorica Bosancic. “After all, so many British Columbians have been hurt by this government’s fiscal policies.”

Since their election, the Campbell Liberals have closed hospitals and schools, raised tuition fees, cut funding to women’s centres and closed long-term care beds for seniors. They’ve also fired more than 8,000 health care workers and imposed 15 per cent wage rollbacks on tens of thousands more.

“The price paid by British Columbians to create this thinly-disguised election surplus has been too steep,” says Bosancic. “It’s time to deal with the real deficit this government has created in our schools, hospitals and communities.”

The telephone poll of 507 British Columbians was conducted October 6 — 17. It is considered accurate to within 4.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The question:

The provincial government is forecasting a budget surplus of approximately one billion dollars. Which of the following is your priority?

Total (507) Per cent Reinvest in such services as health care and education 312 62 Use the surplus to reduce the debt 128 25 Reduce taxes 60 12 Don’t know 7 1

Contact: Mike Old, communications director, 604-828-6771 (cell) Complete poll results available on request.