NEWS

2015 tax and rate hikes for B.C. residents

12/30/2014 10:25 EST | Updated 03/01/2015 05:59 EST
B.C. residents may be gearing up to celebrate New Year's Eve on Wednesday night, but they may not be looking forward to several tax and rate increases coming in 2015.

Jordan Bateman, the executive director of the B.C. branch of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said while many of the hikes will look small at first, they all add up to big hit, especially those on a fixed income.

"Government agencies forget that they look at their increase and say, 'Well, it is only $4 a month. Who can't live with that?" And they may be right. The problem is that their $4 gets added to everyone else's extra take, and before you know it, the taxpayer feels strapped," said Bateman.

"It is not like they are matching what cost of living increases a pensioner would get for example. Instead they are way out of control and really comes down to a lack of fiscal discipline," said Batemen.

Among the tax and levy increases that concern Bateman are:

- Medical Services Premium rates rise $96 for families of three or more, $60 for couples and $23 for individuals on Jan. 1.

- BC Hydro electricity rates will rise six per cent on April 1, approximately $72 for the average home, following a nine per cent increase in 2014.

- ICBC is ending its AirCare program, but basic auto insurance will rise $36 for the average car.

- BC Ferries recently cut its 3.4 per cent fuel surcharge, but fares will rise 3.9 per cent on April 1.

Bateman also notes that Surrey has announced a $162 property tax hike for an average home, and Vancouver is looking at a similar increase.

Residents of Vancouver will also get a chance to vote this spring on a new transit sales tax of 0.5 per cent. It is estimated the new tax would cost the average Metro Vancouver household $258.

Bateman says that would be the single biggest tax increase in the country in 2015.

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