When Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government won a massive majority in British Columbia in 2001, the premier immediately fulfilled his pledge to cut personal income taxes. Big Promises, Small Government reveals the consequences of dramatic tax policy changes on social programs. Campbell expected lower taxes to spur investment and growth. Instead, cutting taxes, while exempting health and education, left smaller ministries scrambling to absorb the cuts to maintain a balanced budget, with disastrous effects. This insider recounting of the real-world genesis, implementation, and consequences of a tax policy offers vital lessons to future governments and insight into the role of taxes in society.
About the authors
George M. Abbott is a public policy consultant and president of Circle Square Solutions Ltd. in Victoria, British Columbia. He enjoyed thirty-five years in elected public office, including seventeen years as MLA for Shuswap and twelve years as a cabinet minister. Among his portfolios were Health; Education; Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation; Sustainable Resource Management; and Community, Aboriginal, and Women’s Services. Prior to his election to the legislature in 1996, George served in local government as director and chair of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District as a councillor at the District of Sicamous. He currently serves as director and chair of Technical Safety BC.
Big Promises, Small Government should be of special interest to students of public policy and public administration. But it also deserves a wider readership. Clearly written and displaying the dry wit for which Abbott was renowned during his years in public life, the book provides an insightful account of the first of Gordon Campbell’s three terms of office.