B.C. Liberal finance critics Shirley Bond and Tracy Redies respond to first NDP budget. (Black Press)

BC BUDGET: Liberals blast ‘tax and spend’ plan

Payroll tax, carbon tax increase threaten growth, opposition critics say

The NDP minority government will keep B.C. finances in the black for the next three years, thanks to strong economic growth, Finance Minister Carole James says.

But B.C. Liberal finance critics Shirley Bond and Tracy Redies says they shouldn’t count on that growth as they add to the business tax burden, with a payroll tax to replace Medical Services Plan revenues and a carbon tax that is rising and no longer revenue neutral.

“This is a government that continues to have a massive spending promises and very little attention paid to revenue generation in the province,” Bond said. “If you can imagine adding a payroll tax, a carbon tax, the list of taxes is lengthy, on the very people that the NDP government are assuming will grow the economy.”

Redies said the NDP’s first budget predicts an 11 per cent increase in personal income tax revenue in the next year, equivalent to $1,000 for each family.

“On the resource side, revenues are actually predicted to drop in our core industries,” Redies said. “That should be astounding for British Columbians, that this government is predicting resource revenues, forestry, mines to decrease over the next three years.”

RELATED: Payroll tax to replace medical premiums

James’ first full budget predicts a surplus of $219 million in the fiscal year starting April 1, with surpluses of more than $280 million in the next two years. That is despite what the government describes as record investments in housing and child care and another large increase in health care spending.

The latest projections from the finance ministry show increased taxation and resource revenues this year, offset by $884 million less revenue from ICBC and $183 million more than forecast in wildfire costs for 2017-18.

Economic growth is projected to be 2.3 per cent in 2018, up from 2.1 per cent estimated last September.

Just Posted

Shames Mountain creates new fund for youth in memory of late founder

The ‘Billey Season Youth Pass’ will be given out annually

Coastal GasLink gets interim injunction against Unist’ot’en

The LNG pipeline company can start work Monday with enforcement approved by court.

Terrace users on Facebook post warnings about vehicle break-ins

RCMP say it’s important to always lock your doors

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Supportive housing project delayed until end of winter

Rainy conditions have stalled groundwork for the 52-unit development on Olson Avenue

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Family searching for B.C. professor last seen at Colombian salsa club

Ramazan Gencay, a professor in economics at Simon Fraser University, was last seen in Medellin

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

Duffy’s lawsuit sought more than $7.8 million from the upper chamber

Most Read