Feb. 19, 2019
VICTORIA, BC: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is expressing deep concern in response to the provincial budget released in Victoria today.
The NDP-Green government’s carbon tax revenues are going up; CleanBC agenda is going to cost taxpayers $902 million over the next three years; ICBC is still losing money and virtually insolvent; and, the provincial debt is going up by more than $14 billion between now and 2021.
“The last things British Columbians need are more carbon taxes, more government spending, more government debt and more ICBC rate hikes,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The B.C. government no longer reports where carbon tax money is going, but a budget table shows B.C. taxpayers are forking out $1.7 billion in the carbon tax in 2019-20 to heat their homes, buy groceries and drive to work, and the government’s carbon tax take will rise to $2.2 billion by 2021-22. The B.C. carbon tax will be $50 per tonne in 2021.
Rather than returning carbon tax revenues in the form of offsetting tax cuts as required in the original legislation, the CleanBC agenda projects $902 million in spending on a complex system of incentives and rebates for bureaucratically determined costs such as replacing natural gas furnaces with electric heat pumps and pushing the purchase of electric cars.
British Columbians will be paying much more for auto insurance as ICBC is projecting rate increases of 30 per cent over the next three years while reducing compensation rates for injured drivers. Despite those changes, the government monopoly is still losing money. ICBC’s own numbers show it is virtually insolvent, with negative $273 million in total equity.
“The finance minister says she’s frustrated by the fiscal challenge of ICBC and so are B.C. drivers,” said Sims. “Yet the government is jacking up rates on drivers while still losing money. Instead, the government should open ICBC up to competition, let drivers pick their own insurance providers and let companies who know how to provide auto insurance put out this dumpster fire.”
The Employer Health Tax is set to take $1.8 billion from job creators and municipalities in 2019-20, and to jump up to $2 billion in 2021-22.
The provincial debt is projected to hit $67.9 billion in 2019 and rise to $82 billion in 2021.
“B.C.’s debt is going up by about $4 million a month,” said Sims. “That’s a bill our kids and grandkids will have to pay.”