It was a cruel April Fools’ joke, but British Columbians began paying more tax on several things, Thursday.
Coming into effect on April1 were an increase to the carbon tax, a new soft drink tax, streaming tax – and, to make it all sting just a little bit more, MPs got a pay raise we’ll all paying for as well.
And so did MLAs.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation notes that the B.C. carbon tax has gone up to $45 per tonne, and that can of pop will now cost you more because the provincial sales tax has been added, whereas food and drink products were previously exempt.
The 7% PST has also been added to vaping products and now also applies to streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and others.
“It’s now going to cost you more to get to work, more to heat your home and more to watch your favourite shows,” says Kris Sims, B.C. director for the CTF. “This is not an April Fools’ joke. It’s going to cost everyday people more to live their lives, and the taxman is going to get you even when you’re relaxing at the end of the day with a drink.”
MLAs are getting a 0.8% raise, bringing their base salary up to $111,912 a year. The raise had been paused last year because of the pandemic, but went ahead this year.
The new B.C. carbon tax rate equates to 9.9 cents per litre of gasoline, 12 cents per litre of diesel or 8.8 cents per cubic metre of natural gas. That’s about $12 on a typical pickup fill.
The streaming tax should rake in about $16 million per year.
The soft drink tax is forecast to collect more than $37 million.
In Ottawa, our MPs will receive an average of $3,200 more per year, while ministers will receive $4,700 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau $6,400. Their raises are calculated against the average annual increase in private-sector union contracts.
This on top of a base salary of $182,600 for MPs, $269,800 for ministers, and $365,200 for the PM.
Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta director, called the raises “a slap in the face to the many taxpayers who have taken a pay cut, lost their job or their business.”