B.C. Liberals on Tuesday said that Finance Minister Carole James refused to confirm whether B.C.’s bottom line will be accurate after exemptions are made on her “poorly-planned” budget.
“The revenue predictions in Budget 2018 rely on both the employer health tax and speculation tax, which the Finance Minister now says are under review,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal finance co-critic. “Every day the minister talks about more exemptions meaning current revenue projections simply have no credibility. The numbers just don’t add up.”
The employer health tax is expected to rake in $4.3 billion over the next three years, including the government’s planned year of ‘double-dipping’ where it will collect this new tax as well as MSP from B.C. businesses. The “speculation” tax— which is actually targeting British Columbians who own family cabins and retirement properties— is supposed to bring in $487 million over the next three years, according to Bond.
Premier John Horgan himself has committed that health authorities, non-profits and taxpayer-funded agencies won’t suffer from his government’s tax grabs. Unfortunately, those organizations have been lumped in with countless other small businesses and homeowners who will be paying for the NDP’s expensive campaign promises, Bond said.
“The Finance Minister continues to tell British Columbians that she will release ‘details as we go along’ about the budget, and is telling NDP MLAs that ‘the tax introduced in the budget…will be tweaked,’” said Tracy Redies, BC Liberal finance co-critic. “Claiming to have balanced the budget while your accounting is incomplete is misleading to the thousands of British Columbians who are being forced to cover these surprise costs.”