Tax panel’s limited scope must be expanded

Commentary from independent MLA

The Premier’s announcement of a tax panel as part of her jobs strategy is too limited in scope and focuses on the wrong issue, said independent MLA Bob Simpson.  “B.C. already has a very competitive tax regime, something the Liberal government has been patting itself on the back about for a number of years,” said Simpson. “However, this competitive tax environment has not translated into job creation, community development or investment attraction at anywhere near the levels the government promised we would see.”  Simpson pointed to the fifty percent cut to the school tax for industry in 2008 as a classic case of tax cutting not leading to job creation or investment attraction. “I’ve challenged the Liberal government many times to report to the legislature how many jobs were created by that one tax policy alone. I don’t believe that tax cut created one new job in B.C., but there’s no accountability mechanism that forces the government to publicly report on the claims they make when they cut taxes.”  “The real issue for all governments is the fairness of their tax policies and the implications of decades of tax cuts on the government’s ability to provide quality public services,” said the MLA from Cariboo North. “If we’re going to examine tax policy in B.C. we need to conduct a much more comprehensive examination of tax policy than merely looking at ‘competitiveness’ yet again.”  In April this year, the independent MLA called on the premier to expand the ‘talking taxes’ discussion and undertake a comprehensive review of all taxes and the fairness of B.C.’s tax regime.  Simpson urged the government to examine natural resource pricing and engage the public in a dialogue about their expectations of the public service and how we structure the tax regime to fund those services.  “The premier’s willingness to explore taxation policy in the transition back to the PST creates an ideal opportunity for the government to engage all British Columbians in a more comprehensive discussion about taxes and their expectations of public services.”



By Bob Simpson, MLA Caribou North



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