Tax hikes cripple families, despite budgetary surplus

Author: Carson Binda 2022/09/06

Life is getting more unaffordable in British Columbia as the provincial government hits taxpayers with sky-high tax bills that are rising fast.


In April this year, the British Columbia government raised fuel taxes on families and businesses struggling with the rising cost of living. In the midst of a housing crisis, they raised the property transfer tax by $1.3 billion. 


Yet, the government announced this week a budgetary surplus of $1.3 billion in the provincial coffers.


This surplus is due to ever-increasing tax bills that are making life more unaffordable across the province.


 It’s not the result of fiscal prudence from Victoria bureaucrats. It is from ever increasing tax bills which are making life more unaffordable across the province.  


Imagine a working family of four, living in any suburb of the lower mainland, with a Dodge Caravan that the family uses to drive their kids to school, dance and hockey. The family also has a Ford-F150 to haul equipment for their family-owned business. If this family fills up the minivan once a week, and the truck once every two weeks, they will be paying more than $735 in carbon taxes to our provincial government this year. 


But the fuel taxes do not end at the gas station. To heat their home in the winter, that same family will see a $233 carbon tax bill for their natural gas.


In all, despite the B.C. Government sitting on an extra $1.3 billion, your average family in the Lower Mainland will pay about $986 in fuel taxes this year. 


In Ontario, Primer Ford announced a gas tax cut which will save families around $200 each.


In Alberta, the UCP government is providing taxpayers the support they desperately need by eliminating the province’s gas tax while global prices stay high.


In Quebec, Primer Legault has sent out $500 cheques to every single taxpayer earning less than $100,000, with the promise to send more support soon, to deal with the rising prices of gasoline.


In B.C., if you make more than $46,567 – you are not eligible to receive a dime of carbon tax rebates. 


Now assume the family, like so many others, are struggling to find an affordable home. Like every other young family, they have dreams of breaking into the housing market. 


In the first quarter of 2022, the cost of construction for a residential building has increased by a breathtaking 25 per cent. Tens of thousands of British Columbians face homelessness.


Instead of meaningfully using the surplus to provide relief for families looking to enter the housing market, the B.C. government has worsened the housing crisis by extracting an additional $1.3 billion in revenue from an increase in the housing transfer tax.


Raising taxes on homes by $1.3 billion, while sitting on a $1.3 billion slush fund is fiscal mismanagement at its worst. 


With 2022 expected to see the average cost of a home in B.C. rising to over $1 million, this government’s raise in the home transfer tax, while sitting on a major surplus, is a slap in the face to everyone looking to enter the housing market province wide. 


Make no mistake, this is not a surplus fueled by responsible fiscal policy. 


With a $1.3-billion surplus, the BC government cannot keep raising taxes on Canadian families and businesses while still claiming to care about affordability.  


When families get their paycheques at the end of the month, they want to be able to afford to take their kids to hockey practice. They want to take on more contracts to build their small business.


They want a fair chance to save up to buy a home of their own. They don’t want Victoria to keep taking more money from them and making life even more unaffordable.