NDP tax hikes estimated at $594 per year for average family: Fraser Institute

Carbon tax hike accounts for biggest share of NDP tax hikes
Expect to pay more in taxes, especially if you earn $150,000 or more.

The average family in B.C. will pay $594 per year more in taxes under an NDP minority government, according to a Fraser Institute calculation released June 14.

Most of those increased taxes will be from a $5 per tonne hike in carbon taxes – $482.

The Fraser Institute used its Canadian Tax Simulator to estimate how much the NDP’s plans translate into in terms of tax hikes.

It estimates that increased personal, business and carbon tax hikes will add $1.4 billion to B.C.’s tax burden.

“An NDP-Green government in B.C. would result in a marked shift in tax policy in the province, including an increase in personal income taxes, carbon taxes and business taxes,” said Fraser Institute president Niels Veldhuis, who co-authored the report .

While lower income British Columbians would see more modest tax increases of $144 a year for families with incomes of $20,000 to $50,000, those in the $150,000 to $200,000 income range would pay an added $1,000 in higher taxes, the Fraser report calculates. The NDP plans to raise the tax rate on the upper income tax bracket.

As the Fraser Institute points out, the carbon tax under the NDP would not be revenue neutral, as it currently is. In other words, the NDP would not offset any increases to carbon tax with a corresponding decrease in other taxes, such as sales or income taxes. The NDP has promised to issue carbon tax rebate cheques, however – something the Fraser Institute does not take into account.

NDP Party spokesperson Jen Holmwood said 80% of British Columbians will actually pay less in carbon taxes than under the Liberals.

“The Fraser Institute completely ignores the carbon tax rebate we will implement,” she said.

The NDP has not said how much those rebates will be worth, however, so it's hard to say how additional revenue the carbon tax hikes will raise for the new NDP government.

One benefit for business in the NDP plan is the elimination of MSP premiums, although it may be short-lived.

Since MSP premiums generate $2.5 billion annually for the government, eliminating them will require making up that revenue some other way. The Greens have suggested replacing the MSP premiums with a payroll tax. The NDP, as yet, has no plan for replacing the MSP premiums.

“It is also important to note that in the short term, it will be many businesses, rather than individuals, that will benefit from the elimination of MSP premiums since in many cases, businesses pay MSP premiums on behalf of their employees,” the Fraser report notes.

The report is based only on some of the NDP and Green policies that have been announced and costed. It doesn’t include the many promises that are not yet fully costed.

“British Columbians may soon face substantially higher taxes, given the changes proposed by the NDP and the Green Party,” Veldhuis said. “And their uncosted spending proposals mean future tax increases beyond those already announced are also likely.”

nbennett@biv.com

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