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B.C. has become the first foreign government to issue a Masala bond in India. Essentially, B.C. took on $97.5 million in debt and immediately reinvested that money not in B.C. infrastructure or something that would help B.C. taxpayers, but in the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited of India.
At a time when many B.C. taxpayers are struggling under the weight of their heavy tax burden, growing personal debt, and an incredibly high cost of living, our locally elected officials are there to remind us all of how hopelessly out of touch they are.
The owner of the company canvassed for the minister in the election.
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There's no tax quite as popular as a tax on someone else. But will the people still be on board once the bills come in for collecting the Vancouver vacancy tax, or when the foreign investment tax has to morph to catch the money coming into the country? Or if housing prices are unaffected? Or if housing prices plunge and Canadian homeowners owe more than their home is worth?
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Todd Stone, B.C.'s minister of transportation, has apparently told the Victoria Regional Transit Commission (VRTC) that he will approve their long-standing request for a two cents per litre gas tax hike in the Victoria region. The VRTC wants the tax, which would generate $6.6 million, for bus improvements.
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Same goes for city councillors.
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Progressive economist Jim Stanford invites us to reimagine Bombardier's demand for another taxpayer handout as an exciting opportunity for an "equity investment." In his view, focusing on the usual metrics for businesses -- such as "does the company make money?" or "can it actually sell the products it makes?" -- is evidence of a dangerous affliction he refers to as "market fundamentalism."
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Education Minister David Eggen says the intent is to set an "affordable" tone, given the province's current economic situation.
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A spokesman said it is questionable whether MPs should get $25 million more to spend on expenses.
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The artwork is certainly controversial.
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Road levy. Recreation and culture levy. Transportation for tomorrow tax. Dedicated road tax. Asset levy. Make no mistake: we want our cities to invest in infrastructure. Sewer, water, roads; these are core responsibilities of local government. But repackaging this spending with a new tax is a slap in the face.
All told, the B.C. government cut cheques for $1.5 billion in film subsidies over the past five years. That's more than taxpayers spent on the ministries of aboriginal relations, agriculture and environment -- combined. As if that wasn't enough, the federal government jumped in with $1.73 billion more nation-wide. With the low Canadian dollar attracting more filming here, these subsidies are going to soar even higher in 2016-17, as there are no caps on these payouts.
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The dimming economy is not the only challenge facing Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
The bipartisan legislative committee was asked by Finance Minister Michael de Jong to travel the province and make recommendations for the 2016-17 B.C. budget. Unfortunately, the committee fell into the usual trap of recommending billions in new spending requests put in by dozens of special interest groups.