Hydro rate hike means more cuts to education

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The government’s April 1 hydro rate hike to school boards amounts to another download of costs and cuts to education services.

“B.C. families need a break, but all they get from the government is more fee hikes,” said spokesperson on B.C. Hydro Adrian Dix.

“Premier Clark likes to talk about the ‘low hanging fruit’ that she thinks school boards can cut, but the reality is they are already reeling from millions in downloaded additional costs like this latest hydro increase. That means school boards have to make cuts to classrooms to address the ongoing funding shortfall from this government,” said spokesperson on education Rob Fleming.

According figures from the B.C. School Trustees’ Association, the increase in Hydro rates cost school boards $4,118,000 last year, accumulated $6,877,060 this year, and nearly $30 million over five years.

“Ultimately, our kids will be paying this hydro increase through some form of cut to their education. Parents are paying more, and their kids are getting less. That’s not what British Columbians deserve from their government,” said Dix.

Fleming added that school boards will need to make tough choices based on the problems the government have dumped on their laps. ”Do they close schools in order to keep the lights on at other ones? Or do they compromise quality of programming? That’s a terrible choice the government is forcing on the people who are responsible for our children’s education.”

Bills pile up for B.C. families under Premier Christy Clark

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VICTORIA – Families right across British Columbia are left wishing it was an April Fools’ Day joke as they face bigger bills delivered to their mailboxes starting April 1st, say New Democrats.

“Unfortunately it’s no joke – as of April 1, Premier Clark is jacking up your hydro bill another six per cent,” said New Democrat leader John Horgan.

“Ms. Clark is bankrolling her tax cut for millionaires by grinding more money out of middle class families who are already squeezed.”

New Democrat spokesperson on B.C. Hydro Adrian Dix noted the hit to people’s wallets from hydro bills.

“The average B.C. Hydro residential bill will grow by another $70 this year. Larger families or people in rural areas will be on the hook for even more,” said Dix.

“During the election, Christy Clark promised that she would keep hydro rates low. But right after, they announced a five year plan to hike rates by 28 per cent. Between Christy Clark becoming premier and the end of this plan, average families will be paying $459 more per year on their electric bill. Sadly, families are paying more are getting less. This is another middle-class tax increase, plain and simple,” said Dix.

“On top of the latest hydro rate hike, B.C. families have also seen medical premiums more than double, car insurance rates increase, and even camping fees are going up. Plus, ferry fares go up once again on April 1. That’s a 70 per cent hike on major routes and more than double on some minor routes,” said New Democrat finance spokesperson Carole James.

“B.C. families deserve a break,” said James. “Instead, Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals gave a $230 million tax break to millionaires.”