Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver put forward an amendment to delay the passage of the LNG Income Tax Act.
“It is premature for this House to consider passing a piece of tax legislation that contains no information about revenue projections and no substantive justification for the massive corporate tax breaks and incentives,” said Weaver, the deputy leader of the B.C. Green Party. “This was supposed to be the Legislature’s opportunity to unpack the government’s LNG promises, but instead we have still received no substantive information.”
He said by delaying the bill’s passage, the government would have had the opportunity to release its revenue models for public scrutiny, and ensure that British Columbians were made aware of both the opportunities and possible pitfalls associated with this bill.
During the debate, Weaver identified a number of potential loopholes that could allow LNG companies to further reduce the already minimal amount of tax that they would pay to government.
“It is perplexing to me that both the government and the official opposition would vote to support this LNG tax legislation when there has been no real information provided about how it will impact British Columbians,” said Weaver.
The government has previously claimed that the revenue accruing from an LNG industry would bring British Columbia a $1 trillion boost to its GDP, a $100 million prosperity fund, 100,000 jobs, the elimination of its provincial debt, the elimination of the PST and thriving hospitals and schools. However, in the government’s LNG tax legislation tabled earlier in the session, no revenue models or projections were available that accounted for these promises.
“The fact that the two independent MLAs were the only ones to suggest this bill is incomplete in its current state is startling. British Columbia deserves real political leadership that is honest about the opportunities and the risks associated with any hypothetical LNG development,” said Weaver.