Frozen out

IT’S NOT easy learning a new job. Just ask rookie premier Christy Clark and rookie finance minister Kevin Falcon, especially when having to shoulder a task left by their predecessors – defending and keeping the HST.

IT’S NOT easy learning a new job. Just ask rookie premier Christy Clark and rookie finance minister Kevin Falcon, especially when having to shoulder a task left by their predecessors  – defending and keeping the HST.

But there’s another tax, one that the government actually did get rid of and it equally deserves the attention of the provincial government.

It is the Innovation Clean Energy (ICE) Fund tax which appeared on utility bills beginning in 2007.

The tax disappeared the end of June 2010 at the same time as the HST appeared, but not before handing out $60 million to companies for 41 projects in 37 communities to, in the words of the province, develop clean energy technologies.

Problem is that the tax actually collected $68 million, leaving $8 million sloshing around somewhere in the provincial government’s bank account. As of this spring, the province had also spent approximately $1.5 million of that $8 million to administer the $68 million it collected, leaving $6 million and change missing in action.

Government officials have given assurances Premier Clark wants to keep the ICE program around for another year. So far there’s no hint of what shape or form that might take.

But with a provincial election coming as early as fall, expect some feel-good green energy announcements from the premier. But just remember, that’s your tax dollar at work.