John Cummins

Cummins shares plans to improve B.C. budget with Smithereens

John Cummins, leader of the BC Conservative party touched on several items in the Conservative platform, especially taxes.

John Cummins, leader of the BC Conservative party addressed a small gathering in Smithers last week, touching on several items in the Conservative platform, especially taxes.

“The reality is, in British Columbia, the average family pays more taxes than they do in any province west of Quebec,” Cummins said.

“We pay more taxes here than they do in NDP-run Manitoba.”

In his calculations, Cummins included medical services plan premiums as a tax, and monies withdrawn from ICBC and BC Hydro that are placed into government coffers.

“All of these are taxes,” he said.

Compounding matters, are the lower average incomes earned by B.C. residents, compared to provinces west of Quebec.

The solution, Cummins said, was to attract employers, such as the resource-based sectors, offering high-wage jobs, and enable them to move ahead to provide the jobs the province needs.

“There are all sorts of mines that are prepared to go ahead but they can’t get the provincial OK,” Cummins said.

“We have to move ahead more quickly.”

Cummins also said the BC Conservatives are committed to eliminating the carbon tax, citing its impact on the cost of transportation which in turn effects the cost of goods and services, particularly in northern British Columbia.

“It’s a huge deterrent to doing business in the north,” he said.

“It’s an unfair tax.”

The carbon tax might make sense for residents in the Lower Mainland where public transit is well developed, but that option is not available in northern B.C., Cummins said.

The combined effect of the higher taxes and lower average wages, Cummins argued, is a net movement of residents out of the province, seeking better jobs and a better life elsewhere.

“British Columbia is not an attractive place to be,” Cummins said.

“We have to turn that around.”

The provincial carbon tax is designed as a neutral tax, the funds raised are returned to residents of B.C. in the form of tax credits for lower income earners, reduction in personal income tax rates, reductions in the business tax rate.

Eliminating the carbon tax would cut about $2.5 billion from government coffers.

Maintaining the tax benefits and cuts in the absence of the carbon tax would fall on government frugality, Cummins said.

“We need to spend smarter,” Cummins said.

“It’s how we spend it, that’s the problem.”

Part of the solution, Cummins said, would come in the form of legislative committees established during the fall session of the Legislative Assembly.

Typically, Cummins said, the fall session of the Legislative Assembly is dedicated to  new legislation and amending existing legislation, while only addressing other important matters in a superficial manner.

Cummins told those gathered at the Aspen River Lodge, if elected, the Conservatives would establish legislative committees to review critically the government’s financial books, year-end reports, an exercise, he said, rarely done.

 

Just Posted

Ramona Wilson Memorial Walk: Twenty-five years, but still no closure

“What we’re standing for today is that nobody is going to sweep this under the rug, nobody.”

Muheim class repeats 2017 award for interaction with seniors

Liliana Pesce’s Grade 4-5 class honoured by BC Retired Teachers Association

Bulkley Valley U14 boys soccer squad wins zones

The Rapids will now proceed to provincial championship in Prince George July 4-5

Donaldson announces seal coating for portions of Hwy 16, Kispiox

Two sections of road in the Bulkley Valley have had their fate sealed.

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read