The B.C. government budget extends seven-per-cent sales tax to “software and telecommunications services” as of July 1, 2020. (Pixabay)

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

The B.C. Liberals say they’ve counted 23 new and increased taxes in the NDP budget presented Tuesday, including extending the provincial sales tax to streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus.

The “Netflix tax” is tucked away in the fine print of the budget book, taking effect on July 1.

“Canadian sellers of goods, along with Canadian and foreign sellers of software and telecommunications services, will be required to register as tax collectors if specified B.C. revenues exceed $10,000,” says a section on page 64 of Finance Minister Carole James’ budget.

The budget also requires sellers of vaping products to register for a new PST of 20 per cent, announced last November to discourage use of nicotine and non-nicotine substitutes for smoking. The regular PST remains at seven per cent, on a wide variety of goods and services, soon to include “sweet” soft drinks, whether sugar-free or not.

In the legislature after James presented the budget, B.C. Liberal finance critic Shirley Bond pointed to “employment dropping, economic indicators are trending in the wrong direction” as the province continues to increase spending and taxes.

“We need to see a robust, thoughtful strategic growth plan in British Columbia, and that’s completely non-existent in the budget we saw today,” Bond told reporters after the speech.

RELATED: ICBC forecast to return to surplus by 2021

RELATED: B.C. adds sales tax to ‘sweet’ drinks, sodas

B.C. Liberal MLA Stephanie Cadieux questioned the budget’s forecasts for the Insurance Corp. of B.C., which forecasts a $91 million deficit for the fiscal year ending in March, then surpluses in the next three years. This follows record deficits totalling $2.5 billion in the previous two years.

“Just a few months ago we were told that there was going to be a $50 million deficit this year,” Cadieux said. “It’s ballooned to $91 million, and they haven’t accounted yet for the loss in court that was going to cost approximately $400 million. There’s no mention [in Tuesday’s budget] of how they’ve managed to absorb that in the last few months.”

Bond noted that ICBC rates will continue to go up, except for a 20 per cent cut planned for a few months before the scheduled 2021 election. And Cadieux questioned the latest rate overhaul that increases rates for young drivers.

“ICBC rates are so unaffordable for our kids that they can’t afford to insure their cars to go to university,” Cadieux said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Alistair MacGregor column: Responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic

This crisis has shown us just how many Canadians struggle every day to pay the bills

Second vehicle from Crofton Geo-Tech theft recovered

Supervisor at Crofton operation finds it parked at Chemainus campground

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

RCMP there for the public during COVID-19 crisis, says B.C.’s assistant commissioner

Dwyane McDonald said the RCMP are working closely with local governments and health officials

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Most Read