B.C. Finance Minister Carole James presents her 2020 budget at the Victoria Conference Centre, Feb. 18, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

The B.C. NDP government is adding another high-income tax measure this year, a new top marginal rate of 20.5 per cent.

Finance Minister Carole James announced the new bracket in her third B.C. budget Tuesday, noting that it will only apply to B.C. tax filers with incomes above $220,000. More than half of the revenue from the new top bracket is expected to come from individuals with incomes above $1 million, and B.C.’s income tax rate will still be third lowest among Canadian provinces for individuals earning up to $475,000, James said.

in her first full budget in 2018, James restored a top tax bracket that had been put in place by the previous B.C. Liberal government for two years. She reimposed a two-per-cent increase that applies to income of more than $150,000 a year.

The latest increases push total income tax for high-income earners close to 50 per cent, combining federal and provincial income tax rates. As of 2019, B.C.’s top combined federal and provincial personal income tax rate is 49.8 per cent, applying to income of $150,000 and up. That’s about 13 per cent higher than the rate in Washington and Alaska, neither of which has a state income tax.

“B.C.’s tax regime is simply uncompetitive with not only neighbouring U.S. states, but several Canadian provinces,” said Ben Eisen, a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute who produced a study called Assessing British Columbia’s Tax Competitiveness in 2019.

RELATED: B.C.’s top income tax bracket close to 50%

RELATED: Small firms face employer health tax in 2020

At the other end of the income scale, the B.C. NDP’s program goal of a $15-an-hour minimum wage will be reached this year, as first promised by Premier John Horgan when he was opposition leader in 2016. The NDP government committed to a series of increases that will bring the basic wage to above $15 by 2021, affecting 140,000 people in B.C., James told the legislature in her budget speech.

Former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver objected to the 2021 deadline for reaching $15 when it was announced, calling for a “Fair Wage Commission” to determine the rate rather than arbitrarily meeting a deadline that the B.C. Federation of Labour considered too slow. The commission was agreed to as part of the minority government support deal with the Greens, but result has ended up the same.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. Budget 2020BC legislature

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

Just Posted

City of Terrace calling on Province to take stricter social distancing measures

The City sent the Province a letter earlier this month with a number of recommendations

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

Grant could help ease road rebuild cost

Would help pay for sidewalk, bike lane

Terrace Library, Misty River Books adapt amid COVID-19 to keep readers reading

Library also unrolling online programs to keep kids occupied

Preventable accidents may impede Search and Rescue capacity during pandemic

TSAR vice president urges outdoor enthusiasts to pause risky activities

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Most Read