BC Carbon Tax: Gas It, Says Taxpayers Federation

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Drivers in B.C. pay almost seven cents in carbon tax for every litre of gas they pump into their vehicles. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Duprey) | CP

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says it’s time to dump B.C.’s carbon tax because it hasn’t reached its environmental goals and is hurting British Columbians’ bottom line.

The group released a 24-page report Monday to a provincial panel that started reviewing the tax last month. B.C. ahead of most jurisdictions in North America because it puts a price on greenhouse gases by collecting a carbon tax, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Since it was introduced in 2008, the tax has steadily increased four times in four years to its current rate. Drivers pay almost seven cents in carbon tax for every litre of gas.

The B.C. government boasts that the carbon tax is revenue neutral because personal income taxes were cut by the same amount. However, the CTF argues that offsetting doesn’t actually benefit the average taxpayer.

The income tax cut only covers $228 million of the $1.2 billion brought in by the carbon tax and average taxpayers can’t access other tax breaks like ones set up for venture capital or research development.

“It’s ridiculous for an average taxpayer to be told it’s revenue neutral when they are forced to pay the ever-increasing carbon tax but have no ability to access the corresponding tax breaks,” said Jordan Bateman, the CTF’s B.C. director in a news release.

He said the tax “is hurting B.C.’s competitiveness both in North America and internationally. Taxpayers—both individual and business—need relief.”

The provincial review is hearing from the public until Aug. 31, ahead of 2013 B.C. budget deliberations. The panel is considering raising, freezing or eliminating the carbon tax.

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