The idea of a fat or sugar tax in British Columbia continues to pop up like the pesky mole in that old midway game. Unfortunately, it's taxpayers -- and the provincial economy -- that would get whacked by such a tax. Supporters of such a flawed taxation policy should look to Denmark's experience for a textbook example of why it doesn't work.
When Christy Clark took over as premier of British Columbia two years ago, she had a window of opportunity to change taxpayers' perceptions of her government. To improve her chances in the 2013 election, Clark needed to throw out unpopular and unworkable ideas brought in by her predecessor Gordon Campbell. In a symbolic way, she needed to string a huge banner over the B.C. Legislature that said, "Under New Management."
While TransLink's habitual tax increases, never-ending budget deficits and lack of direct accountability have been well documented over the past several years, Metro Vancouver has slid somewhat under the radar. This lack of accountability to taxpayers has been a problem at Metro Vancouver for a long time, fostered by staffers playing political games and local politicians distracted by their elected duties at their various city halls.
B.C. taxpayers should be grateful to John Doyle for his persistent, hard-nosed work over the past six years. And perhaps six years is too short of a term, but renewal should not be an option. Now it's time for another watchdog to come in and give issues fresh eyes and a fresh voice, just as Doyle built on the work of previous auditors general.
Once the champagne is drunk, the noisemakers go silent, the balloons pop and the New Year's kisses end, 2013 will bring one nasty hangover for cash-strapped B.C. taxpayers. Taxes, fees and levies from all levels of government are set to go up, leaving even less of your hard-earned money in your pocket.
Why has Canada's federal debt jumped over 30 per cent since 2008, to over $600 billion? Why did the government miss its deficit target by $1.4 billion last year, and what is pushing this year's deficit forecast higher by more than $5 billion to $26 billion? Figures released by the PBO show that, contrary to all the talk we've been hearing about cutbacks, Ottawa's payroll is getting out of control.
Regional politicians seem more concerned than ever with looking green — all while sucking more green out of taxpayers' pockets. Whether it is the $783 million sewage treatment plant in Greater Victoria, the $450 million waste incinerator in Metro Vancouver or the $3 billion subway line to Vancouver's University of British Columbia campus, these projects are nowhere near as environmentally green as politicians claim them to be.
Trust must be the cornerstone of the relationship between a government and its taxpayers. Every year, we hand over our hard-earned money a bank account worth $42 billion to our politicians. We expect them to run our affairs professionally and efficiently and to keep us well-informed on their plans. When that trust erodes, it's very difficult for government to earn it back. But it can be done, if Clark and de Jong are willing to change their behaviour.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the federal debt will pass a milestone Saturday, and used that to call for the Harper government to begin spend...
Once upon a time, a popular opposition firebrand named Christy Clark stood up in the B.C. Legislature to rip the NDP government for spending tax dollars on shameless, self-promoting advertising. Fast forward 13 years and there was Clark, now B.C. Liberal premier, last week holding court for 90 seconds of taxpayer-funded TV ad time to laud her B.C. Jobs Plan -- even promising that four more weekly installments are on the way.
Last week, the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, chaired by Barisoff and made up of both Liberal and NDP MLAs, agreed to post quarterly expense reports online -- but continue to withhold actual receipts, ensuring the public is kept in the dark on where public money is actually going. For two parties who are at each other's throats on nearly every issue facing this province, it is astounding that the Liberals and NDP continue to walk in lockstep when it comes to hiding these receipts.
It's impossible to keep a good idea down for long -- and a looming NDP landslide may put electoral reform back on British Columbia's political radar. Many casual observers would say such disconnect between the number of votes and seats is unfair. But this is becoming a recurring phenomenon in B.C. The way British Columbians elect MLAs was a hot topic of debate after the 2001 B.C. Liberal landslide, which saw a 58 per cent vote count turn into 97 per cent of the seats in the legislature.
If the business across the street from yours, with fewer resources and higher prices, had increased its share of customers every year for 35 years, wouldn't you be curious why? Wouldn't that interest intensify if your own customer base had shrunk in 24 of those 35 years? This is the situation B.C.'s schools find themselves in.