OPINION: Another bitter year brewing for B.C. taxpayers

You'll see even less of your hard-earned money in your pocket in 2013.

Jordan Bateman

Once the champagne is drunk, the noisemakers go silent, the balloons pop and the New Year’s kisses end, 2013 will bring one nasty hangover for cash-strapped B.C. taxpayers.

Taxes, fees and levies from all levels of government are set to go up, leaving even less of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

It already started when January’s Medical Services Premium bills arrived in the mail in late December. The B.C. government has raised their so-called health care tax again – this time from $128 per month for a family to $133. That means the MSP has increased 24 per cent in just three years – adding $300 in annual taxes.

The MSP tax hike is especially objectionable. Even if you don’t use the health care system, you are forced to pay this so-called “user fee.” And it’s hardly an “insurance premium” either. When you drive too fast or cause a lot of car accidents, your car insurance premium rightfully goes up. If you act just as recklessly with your health, you pay the same MSP as the local health nut.

In truth, it’s a regressive tax. If you make $30,001 a year, or $3 million a year, you pay the same $133 MSP a month. Of course, politicians and government workers don’t care much – your taxes pick up their MSP tab, so they don’t even see a bill. MSP is for the little people who don’t work for government.

Your take-home pay will also shrink this year thanks to the federal government. British Columbians earning at least $47,400 will pay $51.50 more in Employment Insurance premiums in 2013; their employers will kick in another $71.61.

Anyone earning over $51,100 will also pay $49.50 more in Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions this year. Employers will kick in a matching amount.

Government monopolies are also increasing their prices. B.C. Hydro’s latest 3.91-per-cent increase will take effect April 1, costing the average homeowner another $36 a year – plus tax. No word on whether 99 per cent of their staff will continue to get bonuses this year.

In Metro Vancouver, TransLink will raise their share of property taxes by roughly 1.5 per cent on July 1, thanks to legislation that makes an increase virtually automatic.

TransLink is also increasing fares 10 per cent. A three-zone ticket will now cost $5.50. In the Fraser Valley, B.C. Transit is also raising its bus fares, from $1.75 to $2.25.

The Golden Ears Bridge ties its toll increases to the annual rate of inflation, which is 1.4 per cent, so drivers can expect that to increase as well in mid-July. Over on the Port Mann Bridge, half-price $1.50 tolls are coming to end during 2013. A round trip across the bridge will soon cost $6.

Virtually every city hall in B.C. – with very few exceptions such as Penticton – will take more in property taxes on July 1. Most hikes are in the neighbourhood of three per cent– twice the rate of inflation. Regional districts are also upping their tax grab on July 1.

These are just the taxes we know about. February’s provincial budget will have to deal with the transition back to the PST, and could include business tax increases, a carbon tax hike, lowering personal tax exemptions and raising the MSP again.

All these different governments and agencies justify their increases by stressing how it’s just a few more dollars – hardly noticeable to the average family. But there’s still only one taxpayer and in 2013, our burden will get heavier, thanks to governments that would rather raise taxes than deal with their core spending issues.

Happy New Year, taxpayers. We hope you survive the experience.

Jordan Bateman is the B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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

Just Posted

Guildford’s Winter Festival raises nearly $7K for Surrey Memorial Hospital

Funds raised through two weekends of skate rentals, on-site donations

Woman in Fraser Health region confirmed as sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Court awards Surrey Costco shopping cart collector $583K after car pins him

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when driver backed into him in the parking lot, pinning him

Royal Canadian circus coming back to Cloverdale

June dates for rebranded circus in year of expansion into U.S.

Committee that replaced Surrey’s Public Safety Committee seven months ago has never met

Surrey mayor dissolved safety committee in July 2019, replaced it with Interim Police Transition Advisory Committee

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Woman missing out of downtown Maple Ridge

Police seek public’s help locating Atefeh Jadidian

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Exploding enrolment prompts opening of second TWU campus in Richmond

Langley’s faith-based Trinity Western University opens a second campus in Richmond

Fraser Valley seniors’ home residents go without meds for a night due to staff shortage

Residents speak out about staff shortages that are leading to serious safety concerns

Most Read