We are less than a month away from the next provincial budget, yet embattled finance minister Carole James already finds herself running for cover after her finance department dropped a bombshell right in the middle of the most important by-election in B.C. history.
I am talking about Nanaimo and the race to replace the former NDP incumbent who left to become the city’s mayor. The vote takes place on January 30th. If the government loses the seat to the BC Liberals, we could end up with a tie at the Legislature where the Official Opposition commands 43 seats versus the combined votes of the governing NDP (40) and their Green Party partners (3).
With the future of the minority government at stake, you have to wonder why Carole James decided to inform 1.6 million average homeowners by mail this week that they will be subject to the maximum rate of the new and highly controversial Speculation Tax unless they go online (on an annual basis) and prove they are not real estate speculators (This takes about 20 minutes to complete online -per person on title).
There are only 32,000 households expected to be captured by the Speculation Tax, leaving the remaining 1.57 million British Columbians wondering why they are being considered guilty until proven innocent?
The Speculation Tax is just one of 19 new and additional taxes Carole James has put in place since she became finance minister just 17 months ago. Yes folks, that is 19 new taxes! If that were not bad enough, we are now learning even the smallest business owners are the target of the equally deplorable Employers Health Tax (EHT). Furthermore, municipalities and school districts will be billed for this tax was well, which of course will be handed down on your property tax bill!
So, let’s say someone currently owns two separate business operations. Even though they might each be small operations, if the combined total of both payrolls amounts to the $500,000 threshold, that single owner will be subject to the HST.
We are not talking about taxing the heck out of big multinational corporations here folks. But we could be talking about your neighbour down the street who may own a hauling company and a landscaping business on the side. These people are now wondering how they can afford to stay in business.
Stay tuned and see if our finance minister continues her war on taxpayers when she hands down her next provincial budget on February 19th.