B.C. Finance Minister Carole James. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Bills to grow bigger in 2019 for B.C. residents

Employer health tax, ICBC, fuel taxes top list of new costs

Household budgets don’t balance themselves, and B.C. residents are looking ahead to tax and fee increases that will have to be accommodated in 2019.

First up for many will be property assessments, as municipalities calculate their property taxes for the year. With a new employer health tax on business and municipal payrolls above $500,000, plus the remaining year of Medical Services Plan premiums for employers who cover their employers, city councils are looking at property tax hikes of up to five per cent for 2019.

For Surrey, the double cost for 2019 is estimated to be $4.7 million, then $3.35 million the year after when MSP is eliminated. Businesses have also noted that the burden of employee MSP premiums is less than the payroll tax the NDP government has imposed to recover the revenue.

Asked about that burden in a year-end interview with Black Press, Premier John Horgan emphasized that self-employed and small business people have been paying their own MSP, and large businesses are getting other benefits from his government’s policies.

“In the interim, those very businesses that are asking for more child care, asking for housing affordability so they can retain employees, are getting those services they need,” Horgan said.

WATCH: Premier Horgan talks taxes in year-end interview

For renters, the province has capped the maximum rent increase for 2019 at 2.5 per cent, the federal estimate of inflation for the year.

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. has applied for a 6.5 per cent increase to basic vehicle insurance for 2019, as it struggles with rising accident rates and injury claims. By the fall of 2019, the province is imposing a cap on pain and suffering claims against ICBC and adjusting rates to reflect the higher accident risk of new drivers and urban areas.

While other Canadian provinces see the imposition of a carbon tax on fuels for the first time, B.C.’s decade-old carbon tax goes up from $35 to $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions on April 1. That translates to nearly nine cents per litre on gasoline, on top of the existing regional, provincial and federal fuel and sales taxes.

RELATED: Metro Vancouver gasoline tax rises to fund transit

For home natural gas users, FortisBC has increased its rates nine per cent for 2019, after gas fell to record lows and the utility was charging more for carbon tax than it was for gas.

Another bite to the paycheque is an increase in Canada Pension Plan, which the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation estimates will cost the average worker an extra $98 in 2019. It’s the first of five annual increases to CPP premiums designed to shore up the plan as baby boomers retire in large numbers.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturecarbon tax

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
OPINION: Examining preliminary results from the 2020 BC Election

Some thoughts to ponder as British Columbia awaits the final results from mail-in ballots

Your Columbia River Revelstoke candidates; Nicole Cherlet (NDP); Samson Boyer (Green) and Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal). The polls are closed and ballots being counted. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Clovechok preliminary winner with 52 per cent of the vote

35 of 77 polls have reported and The Canadian Press is calling Clovechok winner

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read