It has been almost four years since the last provincial election in BC and a lot has both changed and stayed the same on a number of key political and economic fronts. While the much vaunted natural gas plan promised by the governing Liberals during the 2013 campaign has yet to materialize, the province continues to lead the country in economic growth as measured by GDP and job creation. Those numbers can be found in current Conference Board and Stats Canada data. The Clark government would have us know that its recent budget surplus of over 2 billion dollars is the result of companies and businesses wanting to set up here because of a favourable corporate tax regimen. Average wages are up across the board, helped to a large degree by income tax cuts. On top of that, this government has done a significant fiscal belt-tightening when it came to social programs in the first three years. This meant holding the line on spending for public education, hospitals, social housing and infrastructure. Projects like dams, bridges, roads and ferries would only proceed by crown corporations seeking private investors through the floating of bond issues. No direct government borrowing here to finance essential public services unless tax revenue was significantly in the black. Though the Clark government was able back then to win the trust of the electorate, with respect to generating that kind of revenue with a resource-based windfall, conditions are somewhat tougher today, what with a lagging national economy and growing wealth disparity. Because this government has been able to keep its economy firing on all cylinders, with the assurance of more investment in the offing, it can return to the hustings this week with dozens of new promises backed by hard cash this time. According to the premier, the province is open for business when it comes to creating excess hydro power moving goods to market, getting people to and from work, attracting new industries and increasing disposable income for middle-class families. Where the Liberals have outflanked their opponents is being able to now spend more money on social housing, class sizes and hospital beds. The one proposal they don’t have appetite for, which leave to John Horgan and the NDP, is 10$ a day daycare. From what I can tell, such an idea could end up costing taxpayers in terms of big subsidies with no guarantee of an economic dividend in the form of new revenues from payroll taxes. While the NDP continue as always to portray themselves as the champion of the people, they, like The Green Party, have no viable economic model by which to pay for protecting the environment and effecting greater equality other than to tax the rich and their corporate allies. Horgan, if past NDP administrations are anything to go by, would likely, if he won the right to form government, raise business taxes and income tax to pay for social programs like is done in Scandinavian countries. People live with these conditions because their respective populations are highly concentrated thus making it easier to get more for a lot less.