The B.C. government budget extends seven-per-cent sales tax to “software and telecommunications services” as of July 1, 2020. (Pixabay)

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

The B.C. Liberals say they’ve counted 23 new and increased taxes in the NDP budget presented Tuesday, including extending the provincial sales tax to streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus.

The “Netflix tax” is tucked away in the fine print of the budget book, taking effect on July 1.

“Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunications services, will be required to register as tax collectors if specified B.C. revenues exceed $10,000,” says a section on page 64 of Finance Minister Carole James’ budget.

The budget also requires sellers of vaping products to register for a new PST of 20 per cent, announced last November to discourage use of nicotine and non-nicotine substitutes for smoking. The regular PST remains at seven per cent, on a wide variety of goods and services, soon to include “sweet” soft drinks, whether sugar-free or not.

In the legislature after James presented the budget, B.C. Liberal finance critic Shirley Bond pointed to “employment dropping, economic indicators are trending in the wrong direction” as the province continues to increase spending and taxes.

“We need to see a robust, thoughtful strategic growth plan in British Columbia, and that’s completely non-existent in the budget we saw today,” Bond told reporters after the speech.

RELATED: ICBC forecast to return to surplus by 2021

RELATED: B.C. adds sales tax to ‘sweet’ drinks, sodas

B.C. Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux questioned the budget’s forecasts for the Insurance Corp. of B.C., which forecasts a $91 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in March, then surpluses in the next three years. This follows record deficits totalling $2.5 billion in the previous two years.

“Just a few months ago we were told that there was going to be a $50 million deficit this year,” Cadieux said. “It’s ballooned to $91 million, and they haven’t accounted yet for the loss in court that was going to cost approximately $400 million. There’s no mention [in Tuesday’s budget] of how they’ve managed to absorb that in the last few months.”

Bond noted that ICBC rates will continue to go up, except for a 20 per cent cut planned for a few months before the scheduled 2021 election. And Cadieux questioned the latest rate overhaul that increases rates for young drivers.

“ICBC rates are so unaffordable for our kids that they can’t afford to insure their cars to go to university,” Cadieux said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thousands of ‘PPE’ donated in Surrey, where one care home is ‘preparing for the worst’

SafeCare BC’s Operation Protect drive involves drop-off dates in Guildford

Psychologist’s advice on parenting in the pandemic

SFU psychology prof Dr. Tanya Broesch, with expertise in child development, discusses short and long-term impacts COVID-19 pandemic is having on children and parents alike

‘Every little step counts’: Surrey businesses donate meals for frontline hospital workers

Surrey Hospital Foundation has now received more than $70,000 in donations

‘Shocking decision’: Surrey soccer club won’t offer refunds to 350 teams for cancelled tourney

Registration fees would top $171K for Surrey Mayor’s Cup, called off due to COVID-19

VIDEO: Dog missing in Aldergrove since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Abbotsford man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife and throws it at victim, but is quickly arrested by police

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

Most Read