Candidates or parties may respond to the questions in this toolkit with “we wish we could, but we can’t afford it.” How is it that in one of the richest provinces in one of the richest countries in the world, we have come to believe our options are so limited? Here are some tax facts to use to educate ourselves and others about where to find the money to properly support BC’s children, youth and families.
- If BC had kept the same levels of taxation that we had in 2000, we would have $3.5 billion more in annual revenue.
- BC’s economic performance since 2001 has NOT been stronger than the decade prior to the large tax cuts.
- If BC collected the same level of personal income tax revenues as a share of GDP as the other provinces, we would have $2.4 billion more every year.
- $2.4 billion in additional revenues would be enough to fund:
- The construction of 2,000 units of new social housing per year;
- Significant welfare benefit increases;
- The first phase of a universal child care plan;
- Investments in community health care for seniors & people with disabilities;
- Ministry of Children and Family Development budget increases;
- An increase in post-secondary education funding;
- A substantial increase to environmental protection;
- AND restore K-12 class sizes, composition and specialist teachers to 2008 levels.
- Tax cuts for the richest 1% of BC households saved them an average of $41,000 per year since 2000, more than the entire average income for the poorest 30% of households.
- Modest tax increases for the top 14% of BC tax filers could raise $1.1 billion in new revenues.
- The majority of British Columbians (90%) think taxes should be increased for those at the top.
- It costs $8-9 billion a year to keep people in poverty (in added health care costs, crime, etc.).
- It would cost $3-4 billion to implement a comprehensive poverty reduction plan, saving BC $4-6 billion per year, not to mention improving the lives of individuals, families and their communities.
- BC’s overall tax system has become regressive and unfair. When all personal taxes are considered (income, sales, property, carbon, & MSP premiums), the higher your income, the lower your provincial tax rate.
- The provincial government now collects more money from MSP premiums (BC’s most unfair tax) than it does from corporate income taxes.
Even during periods of budget surpluses in the last decade, child poverty in BC was allowed to rise dramatically, an example of the low priority placed by policymakers on child well-being.
Thanks to the work of the CCPA-BC office for the information and analysis in this section. See http://www.policyalternatives.ca/offices/bc/fair-taxes for more ideas and facts.