Tax changes under the new B.C. NDP government will add $1.9 billion to the tax burden of B.C. residents, the Fraser Institute says in a survey of taxes for the province released Wednesday.
The institute’s “Canadian Tax Simulator” calculates that the tax bill for an average B.C. family with an income of $114,809 in 2018 will increase by $929 a year, mostly due to a $498 increase in fuel and carbon taxes and $360 in payroll and health taxes.
“While the government claims it is making life more affordable for B.C. families, its tax changes mean the average family in B.C. will pay nearly $1,000 a year in higher taxes,” said Niels Veldhuis, president of the Fraser Institute and co-author of the study.
The calculations assume that the B.C. government’s carbon tax increase and new payroll tax for health care are fully implemented. It does not include several residential property tax increases, such as increased municipal property tax, more foreign buyers’ tax, the speculation tax on secondary homes and school tax, which was increased for high-end properties in last year’s B.C. budget.
Finance Minister Carole James also restored a high-end tax bracket for incomes over $150,000, a two per cent tax increase that took effect April 1.
James disputed the conclusions of the study, saying “working and middle class families” in B.C. are paying lower taxes than they did last year. A two-income family of four earning $90,000 a year will pay on average the second lowest total taxes in Canada this year, James said in a statement.
“I’m disappointed the Fraser Institute would choose to misrepresent the average B.C. family income for their own purposes and selectively ignore major reductions for B.C. families,” James said.
Cutting Medical Services Plan premiums by half this year while phasing in the employer health tax means a saving for those paying their own MSP premiums of $900 for individuals and $1,800 for families, James noted.