VANCOUVER - A left-leaning think tank says if the B.C. government raised taxes to the levels collected in 2000, it would wipe out the deficit and have lots of money left over for public services.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says a boast by the Liberal government that B.C. has the lowest taxes in Canada is actually starving key services of cash.

The centre says despite the lower taxes, B.C.’s economic performance, job creation and business investment levels are all around the middle of the pack compared to other provinces, while the tax burden has shifted from corporations to families, and from upper-income families to middle- and modest-income ones.

The centre says if B.C. collected the same amount of taxes as the average for other Canadian provinces it would have an extra $2.4 billion, and if it collected what it did in 2000, it would have $3.5 billion more.

It says the extra money would not only pay off the province's current deficit — estimated at $1.47 billion — it would also provide money for existing and new public services.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong — who will release the provincial budget in a few weeks — said last year that the government is cutting spending and travel expenses and implementing a hiring freeze to mitigate a drop in revenues.

Quick Poll

Do you think B.C. should raise its taxes to pay down its mounting deficit?

VOTE

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Gordon Campbell

    Liberal MLA for Vancouver ­Point Grey, 15 years $98,175 per year to start $1.7 million lifetime

  • Bill Barisoff

    Liberal MLA for Penticton, 17 years $90,992 per year to start $1.57 million lifetime

  • Murray Coell

    Liberal MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, 17 years $89,000 per year to start $1.54 million lifetime

  • George Abbott

    Liberal MLA for Shuswap, 17 years $89,084 per year to start $1.54 million lifetime

  • Kevin Kruger

    Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, 17 years $87,700 per year to start $1.5 million lifetime

  • Barry Penner

    Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, 15 years $78,500 per year to start $1.35 million lifetime

  • Kevin Falcon

    Liberal MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, 12 years $62,893 per year to start $1.09 million lifetime

  • Harry Bloy

    Liberal MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed, 12 years $49,000 per year to start $720,000 lifetime (13 years until he turns 80)

  • John Les

    Liberal MLA for Chilliwack, 12 years $48,289 per year to start $835,000 lifetime

  • Dave Hayer

    Liberal MLA for Surrey-Tynehead, 12 years $47,600 per year to start $824,000 lifetime

  • Mary McNeil

    Liberal MLA for Vancouver False Creek, 4 years Ineligible for MLA pension, less than six years of service

  • Iain Black

    Liberal MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam, 6 years $30,000 per year to start $520,000 lifetime

  • Michael Sather

    NDP MLA for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge. 8 years $28,500 per year to start $490,000 lifetime

  • Kash Heed

    Liberal MLA for Vancouver Fraserview, 4 years Ineligible for MLA pension, less than six years of service