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.

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read