BC Budget: Once Again … Little or Nothing for the Middle Class Majority

You would think … after 50 years of watching governments of all stripes at work … I should know better.

In between elections, especially, there is little or nothing meaningful ever handed out to help middle class families (or singles) in local, provincial or federal budgets.

WE are the ones who bear an UNFAIR share the financial  burden PROPORTIONATELY to pay for SPENDING programs targeted towards the poor, the rich, big and small businesses, Crown corporations, Community groups, and government agencies and workers.

WE pay …. so they don’t.

And yet … I had hopes things, under the NDP,  would change

But the latest BC Budget continues the unfair tradition:

BC Hydro will enjoy a $1 Billion debt writeoff (while your rates will still INCREASE substantially) ;  ICBC will also get $1 Billion debt writedown (while …you guessed it …your rates will also rise substantially; there will be $41 million more for those rich enough to buy/own homes so they can convert to cleaner energy, install improved windows and even up to a $6,000 kickback for those who can afford clean energy vehicles.

There will be loans for people facing eviction, but nothing concrete to help municipalities boost the supply of land for middle-income housing, increase density or cut red tape to bring down costs; there will be tax breaks for families with kids under 18 … but amounts are cut back after whole family’s income hits $25,000 … and eliminated completely after ENTIRE family income tops $80,000 … not that high for an ENTIRE family unit in BC, especially the Lower Mainland.

Student loans will stop accumulating interest, parents with kids who have disabilities will get increased benefits, there will be more modular housing built to assist the homeless, disability and welfare rates will go up $50 a month and First Nations will get $3 Billion from the province’s gaming revenues over the next 25 years.

BC Finance Minister Carole James said the province’s economy is the healthiest in Canada.

But once again, RENTERS will NOT GET the promised $400 annual rebate; the major child-care program will remain a theory only; and, those who pay our own MSP (BC is the ONLY province still collecting MSP as a separate tax) will keep shelling it out until next year.

Without ANYTHING in Budget 2019 to help even middle class SENIORS struggling more and more … with little or no income beyond their small pensions/dwindling savings …  to keep up with all the well-above inflationary increases in Hydro, ICBC, taxes, transit, gasoline, rents, prescriptions, etc.!

James said “BC is thriving”.

Yet, certainly little or nothing to celebrate for most of us, of any age, in BC’s WORKING OR RETIRED, MIDDLE CLASS.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: you can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC-based blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.)


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27 Responses to BC Budget: Once Again … Little or Nothing for the Middle Class Majority

  1. Steve Cooley says:

    The ICBC and BC Hydro write offs are transfers of debt from user fees to general taxation. These write offs are the result of bad management by their political overseers. Overseers who were consistently portrayed as smart businessmen by the media and their political reporters. The NDP, who cannot operate a lemonade stand, are the ones who are trying extricate BC from a generation of business savey politicians.

  2. Hugh says:

    Both ICBC and BC Hydro appear to be in a huge mess fiscally. Greater Vancouver is known as a money-laundering destination, with unaffordable housing. BC govt debt is massive. I don’t really see how all that could be called ‘thriving’.

    (Response: Somehow I don’t think the NDP would see things as so thriving and rosy if the Liberals were in power and the middle class and seniors were being ignored as we were by the NDP in Budget 2019. h.o.)

  3. Gene The Bean says:

    Harvey, according to some addicted posters here, if you don’t have enough, that is your problem. No programs for you, no tax “breaks” for you, no relief for you, billionaires and companies deserve it more. Remember the mantra that got Harper elected, “screw onto others before they screw onto you”.
    Just think of the wonderful world we would live in if we were all as mentally inept, morally bankrupt and spine challenged as those that believe that.
    After pointing out the obvious, yes, our government has,again, not done enough for middle class taxpayers. I believe it’s because we are not as organized and connected as those on the extreme ends of the scale. Let’s hope that changes….

    (Response: If the Libs catered to business and the rich as you say … don’t forget to point out how the NDP cater to their base as well… community groups, poverty advocates, unions, environmental activists, etc. The problem is BOTH SIDES turn to the middle class to pay an unfair portion of the burden to pay for it all. It’s disgraceful that if things are doing so well as James said, we are all still paying for MSP individually and renters got no help or even the promised relief they are owed, seniors got nothing, and most working middle class wage earners were shafted. h.o.)

  4. Diverdarren says:

    Harvey, we won’t hear anything from the NDP that speaks to the needs of the middle class till the election in 2021. Then if there are still voters of the working/producer class still willing to put their x next to the NDP then they will once again be bait and switched by the NDP 2022 budget.

    I’m not going to sit back in shock that the hallmarks of a NDP budget is wealth transfer and more spending on the taker class of BC.

    It’s too bad Greyhound went paws up, how are drug addicted welfare cases going to get out to BC from Eastern Canada?

    The only “surprise” in the budget is that the NDP has found new groups to turn into takers.

    Student loans were already interest free for students in full time programs and for 6months after leaving. Now tax payers can pick up their tab afterwards as well. Cool.

    Now gaming revenue will be skimmed off from non profit organization and youth sports to hand over, without accountability, to native bands. Double cool. But, I thought funding indigenous people was the Federal Government’s Constitutional responsibility.

    It’s true BC presently has the strongest economy in the country, but if any group can fix that it’s the NDP.

    (Response: Unfortunately, ALL governments do it: address concerns, promise changes and hand out tidbits to the MAJORITY … ie the vast working middle class … leading up to an election. Then, after being elected, they forget all that … hand out most of the goodies to their friends and active supporters …and hit up the working middle class to pay the tab. Too bad more aren’t screaming like hell about this … and the media are so busy quoting neat political press releases, statements and quotes from organized groups … left and right … they too have ignored the big ZERO handed their own listeners, readers, viewers … the vast middle class. h.o.)

  5. 13 says:

    I owe UBC $47.00 . I incurred this debt in 1972. I dropped out after 2 weeks and enrolled at BCIT.
    Like HO says many politicos read the blog so in an open plea to Carol James minister of gravy trains.
    Could you find it in your generous heart and bottomless purse to pay my debt to UBC. The last I heard from them I would not be allowed to return until the debt was paid in full. Please as a favor to a senior trying to get by without a gold plated indexed pension. Please Carol pay my student debt.

  6. D. M. Johnston says:

    The NDP hate the middle class, a holdover from the old CCF days, I’m afraid.

    First nations, Unions, and students figure in the NDP reelection plans and the middle class?

    They just pay the bills.

    It really was a NDP do nothing budget, that won’t rock the electoral boat for another year.

    Mind you, the NDP just love those billion dollar mega projects and have a very short memory of FastFerries and a 2 seat rump.

    The NDP base is happy, but no one else.

  7. BMCQ says:

    Overall I agree, the Working Middle Class are far too often neglected when it comes to Federal and Provincial Budgets right across the country.

    Then of course there are the PC Social Justice Warriors at the Municipal Level, Special Interest Groups who I refer to as “Poverty Pimps” and others that have one cause or another that is the “Hot” SJW Topic of the day. They ALL literally have their Snouts in the Trough of the Working Middle Class Funds.

    Not only are they ignored they always take a Back Seat to Special Interests and that is most concerning.

    I do have sympathy for people with self inflicted substance abuse problems but almost all of those just mentioned are Victims of their own bad choices, unfortunately I have a few family members and friends I grew up with that are part of that group that have been the architect of their own serious troubles.

    It is that same Working Middle Class that Pays MUCH of Tolls, Property Taxes through Home Ownership or Rents, ICBC, PP Tax, Sales Tax, and so much more.

    There is never any creative thinking with Tax Relief for the Working Middle Class and in a Province like B.C. with such a high cost of living the situation is only getting worse.

    Unfortunately things are difficult for many Small Business as they see an ever rising cost of doing that business. Most that have small business enterprises could be considered Middle Class so they get it from both sides. High Rents almost ALL of it attributable to the Property Tax component of the Triple Net. Then of course there is Insurance, and the other costs associated.

    Corporate Tax in Canada at 16% is quite reasonable and much more competitive than most Free World Nations.

    Contrary to popular believe the Top 1% Income Earners in Canada who make over about $ 275 K pay over 25% of the Income Tax collected in Canada and there about 300K of those people in this country. Even Karl Marx or a few Bitter and Angry Leftists on this Blog would in a Sober Moment admit that number is quite high. Would you not?

    Yes, I agree that the Hard Working Middle Class deserve more from Politicians at ALL Three Levels but how do we accomplish that?

    First we can STOP and Control Government Waste and Bloat, I am sure there are $ Billions of Dollars that could be saved with Savings and Control.

    As an example, what about the Salaries of the Clerk and Sergeant in B.C., MLA Travel Expenses, Benefits for ALL in the B.C. Government including Government Employees.

    Where is the Auditor General on this?

    When Mayor Robertson took power in Vancouver there was 1 Civil Servant in Communications at Van City Hall, there are now about 30, what does that tell you?

    There are many other examples but the Biggest Concern to me is Runaway Property Tax that everyone that pays Rent or a Mortgage Pays.

    B.C. and Municipalities takes in $ Hundreds of Millions of Dollars more now than ever before and the Great Unwashed receives far fewer Services. Why?

    I have seen my Property Taxes in Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey Double over the past 10 Years, WHY?

    And before those same Bitter and Angry Leftists on this Blog blame Greedy Landlords please consider the following.

    The Landlord needs to increase Rents to be in a position to Pay Property Tax or they LOSE the Property. the Income is imperative for ALL Landlords.

    I will not go on here but imagine if just the few things I have high lighted were addressed, how much more would we have to assist the Working Middle Class?

    One last thing here, the People of B.C. and Canada that really get treated the worse when it comes to Provincial and Federal Budgets are former and in some cases still Hard Working Senior Pensioners.

    We send $ 1 Million Dollars a Day down to the DES to Special Inters Non Profits like Portland Hotel, Townsend, Jenny Kwan, and the rest that eat at le Croc, Gotham, travel in Limo’s and to other parts of Canada, the U.S., and the EU all on the back of the Seniors and Working Middle Class that are still paying a disproportionate portion of the Income Tax in this country.

    Working Middle Class need Tax credits for Tax Relief and Senior Pensioners need to be treated better than those that have put themselves in difficult circumstances by making bad choices.

    Before another Bitter and Angry Leftist attacks me for that comment please be aware that I lost a Sister to a Drug Overdose and My Wife has a Sister that is a Life Long Drug Addict that has included the use of everything and anything including Heroin.

    We need Transparency and we need Accountability from Governments at ALL Three Levels, the Working Middle Class and Senior Pensioners will thank you.

    (Response: I wouldn’t say the middle class are just neglected … they’re TARGETED for huge share of needed monies by governments … usually less in absolute dollars than the rich, but more proportionately when it comes to share of total income. Totally unfair … and about time this was addressed. h.o.)

  8. BMCQ says:

    Pensioners living on Fixed Incomes of less than $ 40 K Should NOT pay Income Tax on that earned Income, it would benefit Pensioners Greatly and that extra disposable Income would NOT go into a Sock under the Bed, that Tax Saving would go directly into the Economy to purchase Food, Clothing, Medications, Transportation, Entertainment and so much more which would obviously Benefit ALL of us.

    (Response: I agree. Governments seem to forget that pensioners worked many decades to amass their retirement savings and paid out a lot of taxes and mortgage interest for their homes …and many were not even home owners but renters for 40 or 50 years, paying after-tax bucks to landlords who also paid taxes on those dollars declared as income. Clearly when they retire …on small or even without company pensions often without c.o.l.a or health or dental coverage … they deserve a better break, especially in view of constantly rising (beyond inflation) Hydro, ICBC, transit, gasoline prices etc. Time for government to open their eyes to the reality of many retirees. h.o.)

  9. Jimbo says:

    At the risk of being brief. Check the demographics and realize child care support is hugely import to aiding a future middle class. Who argues removing med. ser. fees and reducing long term student debt? Finally attempting a fix for Hydro and ICBC is long overdue – at least the New Dems are trying. For God’s sake can we get over the fast ferries:

    (Response: But that’s the problem: NOTHING in the latest budget to finally get rid of those MSP payments (BC is the last province still charging them); little in the Budget to keep the NDP promise of full inexpensive daycare; and what about the ever increasing numbers of childless couples and growing numbers of working singles … ZERO for them … even though they too are facing huge Hydro and ICBC rate boosts, rent increases, gas, transit costs etc. h.o.)

  10. helena handcart says:

    Well Harvey, I find it a bit depressing to read your topic and all the comments. What a negative and peevish bunch of malcontents we have become. We begrudge a little extra for the working poor, the struggling students, the single parents and all the rest of our society than are not as lucky as us. I live a comfortable and privileged lifestyle as do most of the commenters on this blog. You want a tax break so that you can spend a few extra days in Florida? Or so that BMCQ can play an extra round of golf in Indian Wells? Or so that I can travel a bit farther in France this year? Let’s give our heads a shake. Another $50 a month to someone struggling to put food on the table isn’t a Bitter, Left Wing concept. It is the Canadian way. We look after others less fortunate than ourselves.

    (Response: I ask for nothing for myself: I have been quite blessed, well paid when I worked and had great investment advisers who helped make my retirement quite reasonable. And yes, I want those less fortunate incapable of working or despite serious efforts are unable to find work to be fairly taken care of and treated with respect. BUT I also care for the really hardworking middle class, the vast MAJORITY who do everything right, sometimes work two jobs and yet can barely survive from one paycheck to the next because THEIR wage increases have not kept up with inflation; THEIR costs of living increases ( Hydro, ICBC, rent , gas, etc.) have surpassed their wage increases and many don’t even receive wage boosts every year at all even equal to inflation. It’s about time governments started giving THEM a decent break … not by taking anything away from the less fortunate, but by redirecting a lot of the wasted funding for spurious projects and the many handouts they give to the government’s “friends” and backers. h.o.)

  11. BMCQ says:

    Helena – 10

    I honestly believe you and Harvey, Jimbo, BMCQ and most others here actually want more or less the same for Working Middle Class People.

    I do not know anyone that begrudges Paying a reasonable amount of Tax of any kind but any thinking person wants Accountability, Control of Government Spending, Waste and Bloat, and they want Fair and Balanced Responsible Governance.

    Did you not see where I suggested Senior Pensioners On Fixed Incomes with Limited Assets and some others with Incomes under $ 40 K should not be required to Declare their Pension Income and pay Tax under that amount.

    Frankly I do not care if which Party offers what i suggest as long as that Government is Fair and responsible treating Citizens equally.

    Most Business people I know would pay a little more Corporate Tax as long as Government Waste andvBloat is reigned in. I would not however be willing to do that unless there was strong evidence of Efficiencies at all Three Levels of Government.

    What is so bad about that?

    To simply just increase Tax on anything makes no sense.

    In the 2013 B.C. Election John Cummings Platform suggested finding 2% Efficiencies in all Ministry’s other than Health, why not?

    The so called Middle Class Pay a disproportionate amount of Taxes, User Fees, and other Costs simply because they work and commute to work and they deserve better.

    Personally my concern is Government Oveespending, it is not so much a concern of paying Tax of any kind, I Want and Demand Value for the Tax I Pay. Why should that not be the case?

    Again, another $ 50 or $ 100 Dollars does not mean to much to me but why can Government not be more efficient, thst would be a Win Win.

    I am more than happy to donate to charity and I also support some friends and family who need assistance and I am thankful I can do that but I still want more Efficiencies from Government.

    If we do not get control of Government Waste and Spending at those 3 Levels of Gov we will see Huge Deficits and an ever growing Debt and that could be catastrophic. PM Justin will have us over $ 30 Billion in Deficit each year as time goes on and with the inability ofvCanada to Build anything especially Pipe Lines soon enough we will not have the ability to service the long term Debt.

    Why are we sending $ 50o Million Dollars to India? Think about that for a start.

    My biggest concern is Property Tax that affects Business and Residential Renters, Residential and Business Property Owners.

    As I have stated previously, take a stroll on Denman St from Davie then up Robson to Burrard St. and you will see over 60 Empty Store Fronts all because of Usurious Rents created by the High Rents caused by the out of control Property Tax component of that Triple Net.

    My concern is not about saving money for me, my concern is Tax Creep that is hurting all of us but especially the Hard Working Middle Class who Power this Province and Country and the Pwnsioners That Built our Country.

    Government needs to do better.

    My comment regarding “Bitter and Angry Leftist” is only directed st one rather Sad Individual On this Blog that has a Hate for any one that is successful and I find that rather pathetic and sad.

    I do not understand how you conclude that either of my posts are about me paying less Tax, nothing could be further from the truth, just because I call for control of Government Waste and Bloat and at the same time call for Fair Taxation does not mean I am greedy or thinking about my own Tax situation.

    Yes the Canadian Way is to assist those less fortunate but it is time for some to help themselves and be more responsible so we can help Seniors and allow the Hard Working Employed Middle Class have more Disposable Income to enhance their ability to boost their Standard of Living just a little bit.

  12. e.a.f says:

    DiverDan you certainly seem to be concerned about the government sharing the gambling revenue with First Nations. Currently only those who have casinos in their city, etc. receive these funds, in addition to what they hand out to the various organizations you mention. However, given there are no casino’s on reserves, they don’t benefit. Now, perhaps the NDP realizes if this continues one day the province will wake up to see casinos on all band land and thus put a lot of current casinos out of business and the casinos on reserves might not be required to “share’ with non indigenous people.

    All the problems from ICBC and B.C. Hydro can pretty much be laid at the door of the B.C. Liebercons who ran this province for 16 years. Come to think of it, they didn’t do much for the “working/middle” class either. The current rates for MSP premiums are low, so I’m O.K. with it.
    Now as to those who are not part of the working/middle class, what would you all like them to give up so the “working/middle” class can have more? Would you like to lower welfare rates, fewer health services, fewer social workers, fewer social housing units? Sure go for it and see how well society turns out then.

    Since the NDP has come to office they have announced 4 new hospitals and that is a pretty good start. They may not be part of the budget, but its a dam good think we’re getting them. Some cities are also getting new health clinics because of a shortage of family doctors.

    What is it that people actually wanted from the budget that they didn’t get besides the reduction in MSPs? If its lower taxes, then there will have to be cuts to services, are you prepared for that?

    To those of you who think the government has efficiencies which can be made, well the group who was so good at business never did find them. As to the excessive spending in the speakers office, well that went on during the B.C.LIeberalcons reign.

    My suggestion, if you want more, you’re going to have to pay more. So who will have to pay more? We might start by over hauling the tax system and simply have a graduated tax system. Remember during the Eisenhower years in the U.S.A. tax rates were approx. 80% on the upper reaches of income. Perhaps the time for that has come again.

    things are getting more and more expensive. Governments, while they are providing services have to pay doctors, nurses, pencil pushers, etc all wages. When the government buys anything they too have to go to their version of the super market and every thing from paper, pens, computers, desks all go up in price. Drugs, hospital equipment all go up in price.

    So instead of complaining what is it that you really want that you didn’t get? I’d like to know. I’m happy with the changes in our medical service. I’m happy new schools are being built even though I’ve never had a kid I had to send there. I do see a lot of kids going though and through reading I know programs in schools are improving, with smaller classes, more teachers aids, more counselling services, more psychological help for kids who need it. those are things “middle/working” class people benefit from.

    BMCQ you’ve complained for some time about the poverty pimps and the dtes, ETC. BUT I haven’t ever heard of a business plan to change things.

    Just the millions upon millions the government spends each summer fighting forest fires, paying for clearing highways during winter storms, non of this goes down in price and if we want those services taxes either go up or other things are not provided.

    If you’re part of the “working/middle” class, in a way, you’ve already won the lottery in life. There are hundreds of thousands who have to get by with less and yes, their needs may have to come first because if they don’t things will get worse and we could start looking more like some of those American cities.

    People complain the government is providing modular homes for the homeless, but then they also complained they were living on the streets. Make up your minds. What do you want. Homeless living on the streets or in tent cities or in modular homes. This problem goes back decades when the Socreds deinstitutionalized the mentally ill and didn’t do anything to help them.

    When the current drug epidemic started with fent we couldn’t even get Christy clark to ban pill presses and got rid of some RCMP units.

    If the NDP moves too fast in one direction or another there will be complaints from all sides, so right now, its steady s it goes, and to those of you who think you’re hard done by in the last budget, well suck it up. You’re all doing fairly well

    What more do you want? What more do you want some one else to give up, so you can have more?

    My take on it, the NDP is focusing on health care and education and looking at a way to get more street people into some sort of housing, because if they don’t we could look like the slums of India or some American city.

  13. 13 says:

    eaf, your last post is one of your finest works of fiction.
    Your worried that the fn peoples wont share with us?
    You want a tax rate of 80%
    You are ok with the NDP not keeping the MSP promise
    You are ok with ICBC as its a Liberal created problem. EBY has declared that ICBC is a money loser even if the BC Libs had never taken a dime.
    You claim that if you want to pay less tax you must give up services and the BC Libs never found efficiencies. You ever think that the efficiencies come from cutting the wages and benefits of the over paid public sectors (ALL 3 LEVELS) Cutting the top heavy management teams, armies, hoards of ICBC BC Hydro BC Ferries, and the BCTF endless health regions, endless school boards, multiple municipalities with endless chiefs of police and fire chiefs. Talk about a ton of waste.
    Then you are happy that the NDP have announced 4 new hospitals without budgeting
    So I assume that if a political party were to announce 10 hospitals, free tuition for all post secondary schooling, free daycare for everyone, $4000.00 per year renters grants ETC without any budgeting in place to fund you would be ecstatic.
    And my personal favorite. People that are working their asses off to support your idea of what you consider they are deserving of should clam up and pay the tax that you deem to be necessary for your vision of happiness.
    News flash YOUR vision is not everyone elses vision (thank God)

  14. BMCQ says:

    Each and every time the Government becomes more efficient that Government creates an opportunity to assist all Residents of the Province but Hard Working Employed Middle Class are ignored, the facts speak for themselves.

    Instead most Governments chose to increase Tax of all kinds, and that is regressive, and serves No One, especially the Middle Class, far too much of the Increased Taxation goes to “Special Interesrs” as the Government theorizes that “Buys Votes”, simple.

    My Company has had a Hand in building each and every X Ray Room in every Hospital, Cancer Clinic, Private Clinic and Dental Office In B.C., Alberta, and several others as Far East and including Ontario.

    The recently announced Hospitals and Schools were virtually ALL announced by the last B.C. Liberal Government.

    There were MORE Hospitals and additions built over the past 20 years than ever before.

    I DO have a plan to make Government more Efficient, do Away with the Broadway Tunnel, Fix UBC, the Vancouver Museum, Transportation including Sky Train, address Drug Addiction, seniorvHousing, and much of the rest I will not list as Harvey would find me off topic and my points would all go to Trash.

    Perhaps one day Harvey will allow his Followers to state ideas and solutions for all that ails us in an Open Forum Blog Topic and I will explain.

    My ideas would at the same time create a scenario where Hard Working Middle Class and Greatly unappreciated and disrespected Seniors would benefit and see their Disposable Incomesand Standard of Living Grestly Enhanced.


    Travel a few minutes down the Hwy 111 to Indian Wells and Vicky’s of Santa Fe and try the Onion Tomato Dalad, Salmon and Cream Spinach.

    If we assist the Middle Class and the Pensioned Seniors in improving their Standard of Living we help every single Resident in the Province and Country, all we need is the Leadership and the Courage to act.

    Time for Big Changes in Canada before it is too late.

    (Response: Not a bad idea: “Perhaps one day Harvey will allow his Followers to state ideas and solutions for all that ails us in an Open Forum Blog Topic and I will explain.” May just do that one day ..could be fun … and interesting. h.o)

  15. 13 says:

    BMCQ @14. Over the years on the HO blog you HAVE outlined solutions to many of the problems that the topics have broached. Your post at 14 leaves us wanting more sane solutions to government waste as most of us (except for bitter and angry leftists) would love to see improvements to the financial well being of seniors and the working middle class.

  16. SB says:

    I took a few days looked at what is in and not in the budget honestly I can’t complain terribly I am definately middle class and a few breaks would be nice but I also have 2 kids in university I help anything that helps them I think is a good move and they got small breaks but it’s a start next I am ok I’d love more fun money but I’m fed warm alive and happy.
    The NDP I believe is taking smaller balanced approaches after beginning and seeing ICBC and BCHydro had been steered into one big ditch and on purpose the Right wings wanted them privatized forever and NDP left to clean up that mess it is one huge amount and if delaying some other promises is needed to balance the needed action we are better off later regardless .
    I do not look at poverty from a point of view it’s seniors or youth or any one group it should be given that anyone living below the threshold of the poverty line get more help be it tax free living assistance with rent or needed services which can apply to any demographic age group we need to change the mentality of me first to what can I do to help and that has to be from top to bottom and much of the help won’t cost billions but would help.
    Free public transit would do wonders in cities just as an example start with simple but direct things .
    I’m sure you can add as others but it does not need to be a mega project just common sense changes that help .

    (Response: I try not to look a “Me” or “I” or “Mine” point of view …but whether it’s FAIR in how they relate to the majority or particularly needy or particularly wealthy or connected in society. And although I especially sympathize with the poor or hard-pressed students (without rich family backing)it also bothers me to see working steadily employed people who … after all the annual increases governments and agencies and excessively greedy landlords impose on them ..still being hit with all kinds of fees, city tax increases, Hydro, ICBC gas taxes etc WELL BEYOND inflation … and still paying MSP premiums that as far as I can tell ONLY BRITISH COLUMBIANS still pay individually. About time the MAJORITY were treated right … not just bled dry. h.o.)

  17. 13 says:

    @SB, “we need to change the mentality of me first….” Im curious as to some examples of that. Most of the people I know have that attitude. Those that put themselves in front of everyone else are not in my current circle of friends and family. Your example of free transit is a great idea. It would help seniors and the working poor and the working n middle class But the gist of this particular HO blog is that the middle class are already just about tapped out and the funding to replace the user pay system would need to come from somewhere. Perhaps scraping the Transit Police and replacing them with lower paid security that ride the transit system. Perhaps cleaning house at Translink. Once again efficiencies could and should be our first priority. The disgruntled , angry leftists will scream that the rich should pay but thats a red herring. Government easily wastes enough money to cover your free transit plan. I would imagine that free transit would appease the enviro crowd and make ICBC less of a burden for many that could park a car.

  18. DBW says:

    As usual I am confused.

    First of all, I am not even sure who we are talking about when you talk about the middle class. I read a year or so ago that (don’t quote my numbers but they should be close enough) the median household income was around $70000. That is household income. Size isn’t factored so the single person, single parent, one income family and two income family are lumped together if their incomes are the same even though their living conditions are different.

    The bottom 20% of household incomes falls below 35000. The top 20% have household incomes over $135,000. The middle 60% fall into that wide 35000-130000 range. Is this the middle class that needs more.

    I have a family member getting by on her 40,000 salary while her co-worker – a single parent with two elementary aged kids – struggles with the same salary. Who do we want to help?

    Does a married couple no kids making 100 grand between them need tax relief. What about when one of them takes time off to raise their newborn?

    So that’s one. Second, what exactly are we looking for when we ask for more for the middle class or the hard working taxpayer or whatever definition we want to use.

    I am not even sure if we are on the same page discussing this topic. For some more for the middle class means less taxes so programs of whatever nature will be cut.

    For others it means more programs – day care, rental rebates, no MSP premiums – which will require either tax increases or shuffling money from those programs that some see as worthless.

    Or do we want certain groups to pay more through some kind of income distribution or corporate tax hikes that might chase business away.

    If somebody wants to thread this needle, they shouldn’t be yakking on Keeping it Real. They should be running for political office.

    (Response: Middle class “household” income may sound pretty good … esp compared to what wages were when I was in middle age. But let’s keep it real …that’s BEFORE taxes … and that’s exactly my point: although low end earners can get all kinds of subsidies, exemptions, assistance and tax breaks (and they should!) the rich also can get all kinds of generous writeoffs, thanks to government investment-encouraging policies, great tax lawyers and superb accountants …sometimes ending up paying little or no taxes. BUT take away the taxes .. federal and provincial, and municipal taxes rising well above inflation these days and the middle class working individual or childless couple pay a FORTUNE in the Lower Mainland and Victoria (and a growing number of other municipalities) on top of outrageous rents or mortgage/housing costs, skyrocketing Hydro and ICBC rates, transit fare increases, the ripoff cable and cell phone rates governments allow in Canada, government imposed gasoline taxes (paid $2.13 a GALLON last week in Florida as opposed to $1.36 a litre in Vancouver) and it’s no surprise that many, many members of our middle class are barely getting by these days. THEY DESERVE A BREAK…. instead of just being TARGETTED to pay more and more and more … and being almost totally ignored in every Budget. h.o.)

  19. BMCQ says:

    DBW – 18

    You bring up some good questions and they can all be answered in the most part by anyone with some accounting skills, an objective outlook, and some good common sense whilst eliminating Politicsl Ideology and a vested interest in a desired outcome.

    A major problem we here Learned Judges, most Politicians, Bureaucrats, Special Interests, and various other Self Interest types described as Stake Holders bloviate about is just “How Complex, Difficult, and Confusing Taxation, Governance, The Laws that Govern us are when in fact Common Sense really gives us most of the tools we need to arrive at a conclusion that accomplishes everything Society needs.

    Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Judiciary are most often the first to get in the way of Good Governance.

    As an example, let us take the Carbon Tax which IMHO is more than likely the Biggest, Most Unjust, Scam, and Fraud ever Perpetrated against the Employed Working Class in the past 20 years.

    The Carbon Tax is not paid by the vey poor because they seldom drive and if they do it is very seldom.

    People like me and many more “Expense” the Gas.

    The Working Class Pay threw the nose because they commute, travel/drive further, quite often need two cars, have families in many recreational activities which require cars, paid/pay Tolls, and in turn pay more to maintain vehicles, Insurance which they cannot expense and the rest.

    In turn that Carbon Tax simply goes into Government to be used in mostly General Revenue to finance various things like the Clerk, Sergeant st Arms and Speakers Junkets to Purchase Point Hats for Pointy Heads.

    Who Wins here?

    Carbon Tax is a fraud and nothing less.

    If all of the say .6o cents per Liter or say $40.00 per tank on average was to stay in the pocket of the Working Class that Money would be again spent on Consumer Goods, Housing, Clothing, Recreational Activities, Ford, and more contributing to stimulating the economy.

    Think of what that alone would do for the Hard Working Middle Class.

    The Carbon Tax is a Fraud and Media and Cowardly Politicians are afraid to speak out against it.

    Do a little research to learn how the whole Recycling Sham is costing us $ Billions and accomplishing nothing, once again it is the Middle Class Hit the hardest to make a few Politicians feel better about themselves.

    I have also spoken up about Usurious Property Taxes many times on this Blog and it is another absolute Fraud perpetrated against the Middle Class.

    Ask yourself, why do Municipalities continually need 3, 4, 5, 6, % and more in Property Tax each year when in fact due to increases in High Rise Towers and More Larger New HOME’s along with Row Housing Purchased and Rental Properties than ever before now bringing in $ Hundreds of Millions more in Property Tax. Why in the world do they need an increase?

    Government Waste and Bloat, That is why.

    Again this mostly affects the Middle Class.

  20. BMCQ says:

    My apologies, through the nose.

  21. e.a.f. says:

    13 at #13
    First thank you for the compliment regarding my “finest work of fiction”. Now if I could just get on that best sellers’ list.

    I’m not worried about First Nations not sharing profits with us, non First Nations. Any reasonable person would conclude that is not part of their business plan, no more that it was part of the business plan for business which were historically owned and operated people of European descent.

    As to a tax rate of 80%, yes I’m fine with it if the income/profits warrant. Don’t know why it would be of such concern to you because it is doubtful any one who comments here is making profits/income which would qualify them for that type of tax rate.

    An 80% tax rate might be in order for corporations or individuals above what ever it is set at; i.e. taxable income over $50M or $100M.

    80% was the going rate in the U.S.A. during what many still refer to as the American golden age. of Eisenhowever.

    To increase revenue for government we need to “capture” all income. As has been discussed on this blog, from time to time, people live here, are Canadian citizens, but keep their income off shore and in some cases live in very luxurious homes while collecting social benefits. That needs to end.

    I’m fine with the current MSP rates. They’re approx. $30/35 per person. Not a bad deal if you ask me. There are people who can not afford that and if a family makes less than $42K a yr. they can apply for assistance. Hell a bottle of B & B costs more.

    Regarding ICBC, that maybe your interpretation, but it is not what I wrote. The problem is the B.C. Liebercons took half a billion out of ICBC and I wasn’t good with that. Its in the past and all the NDP can do is deal with it. The half billion a year was placed in general revenue. It enabled the B.C. Lieberals in some cases to even announce a surplus or a balanced budget. Every one in the province benefited so by writing down the debt and having general revenue paying for it, seems fair to me. The B.C. Liebercons did not adjust rates when they needed to due most likely to political considerations. During the Liebercon years, some cars became much more expensive to repair and so did the “experts”. That was not taken into consideration. A $200K car is much more expensive to repair than a basic $30K vehicle.

    Complaining about all 3 levels of staff incomes, what do you want these people to make? The collective agreements were fairly negotiated and both parties signed them. If the B.C. Liebercons were taken advantage of by those terrible union bosses, they ought to have sent in better negotiators. Then there is the no small matter of the cost of living in B.C. Haven’t recently looked at supervisory pay out side of the bargaining unit at ICBC but doubt it is out of control. The managers work for their money and they have to live in B.C. to do it. Remember how much housing cost in Greater Vancouver and Victoria. Even teachers are getting hard to find in those areas because of the cost of housing.

    Regarding police and fire chiefs, they are not part of the provincial government. Each municipal entity controls that on their own and determines what the pay will be. what is it to you if one city decides to pay their staff a salary and you aren’t paying for it. As recent as last year, North Vancouver District and the City of North Vancouver decided not to amalgamate. The tax payers voted on that them selves, so who are we to decide it must be otherwise.

    Its not good to assume, you know what that leads to. I may be crazy or out of touch in your books, but rest assured I’m not delusional. Ten hospitals is a tad much, etc………

    Your personal favorite, that is not my interpretation of what I wrote. However, you are free to determine what you wish. My point is, for what we pay in tax, I’m currently satisfied. Health care and education, are improving. Without an educated population a country does not grow, it doesn’t attract new business, it makes for a less civilized society.

    Paying for the homeless and drug addicted, just makes more financial sense. Years ago they did a cost analysis of what the homeless cost in the Comox Valley vs. putting them in some sort of housing. Putting them in some sort of housing was less expensive.

    Moving the homeless into modular housing works. Its less expensive than having the police out more frequently, more frequent and longer hospital stays, etc. not to mention having tent cities and people living on side walks just doesn’t cut it if you’re trying to promote your area as a tourist mecca.

  22. e.a.f. says:

    BMCQ, OMG, I so agree with you about that Broadway Line. Its going to cost the taxpayers billions and for what? so developers can build high rises all over that area? Let the developers pay for it, not taxpayers.

    O.K. 13 at #17, I’m with you on the cost of Transit Police. As I understand it they are the highest paid police force in the province. Yes, more than the VPD. Personally we might save a lot of money when it comes to transit with an audit, but again, who was in charge for 16 years.

    Back in the last century, middle class was defined as a set of values, it wasn’t all about income. In B.C. the working class eventually became the middle class because of the increase in incomes in the 1960s and 70s. In times prior to that middle class might have afforded a summer homes, better vacations, then came the 1960s and 1970s and if you were good with your money, yes, there was the home in the Gulf Islands, the boat, two cars, etc. and those were working people who were just careful with their money. So what is middle class, as you write, its difficult to define.

    Recycling is a good idea, which went bad. All our junk was shipped off shore. it would be more cost effective and environmental to force each country to keep their own garbage and deal with it. All those environmental fees, from what I understand, go into general revenue and from there who knows, although I’m good with the deposits on pop and booze bottles because they do get returned and people do use as jobs. If recycle fees, etc. were actually used to deal with recycling and garbage or research in this field, it might be o.k. but currently its a pile of b.s.

    We do have to deal with carbon. is a carbon tax the best way to do it, if people going to work have to pay it to go to work, not so much. its like a tax on going to work and we can’t expense it.

    BMCQ, good question regarding the property taxes, so perhaps some one could, or a number of people could check to see how much their municipal entity has in the bank. Paying property taxes does however, pay for police, fire departments, roads, snow clearing, recreation centers, social services, etc.

  23. e.a.f. says:

    all of us have had our say about taxes, but my general impression is lots of us don’t know where they money is spent and what government workers are paid or what they do. Perhaps its time we educate ourselves once again. It reminds me of when the americans had the federal shut down. Many thought it wouldn’t be a big deal until they found out what was happening once the workers weren’t there and found out how little many of those workers made.

  24. 13 says:

    Harvey you have confused many with your outrageous claim that the middle class never get a fare shake. You have gone over your concerns backwards forwards and inside out. Yet some are still confused. They continue to point out that any break for the middle class will require program cuts. They refuse to admit that our (their) government wastes money. They are deathly afraid that if the taxes and fees that the middle class pay are reduced their unbridled support of every SJW cause will suffer.
    Income tax
    Property tax
    Gas tax
    Hydro gas or electric
    All going up at a rate much higher than inflation.
    Sorry for repeating your list Harvey, but sooner or later the confusion will clear up. I know that I am not confused. I am perpetually broke. Non smokers non drinkers and very little debt.Thank God I no longer have a mortgage. This was achieved by selling in town and moving to Chilliwack. This created 2 cars commuting to Vancouver for work with a monthly gas bill and ICBC costs of $1400.00 per month. (MORE THAN OUR MORTGAGE WAS). So my wife quit her 40k job to save us 400 in gas off of the $1400. Plus the daily drive would have likely cost her much more than gas and time.
    Her pay cut was about 10k per year. So yes siree we are confused. Were confused about why we pay so much ICBC. So much gas tax. Maybe someday my grand children will be able to catch sky train in the whack
    Every time I hear some retired public sector worker tell me that life is good suck it up I could scream. Ive even had one of those trough dwellers on this blog tell me I should quit complaining and get a government job. That is the NDP solution everyone works for the government

    (Response: You get it! Many of those in the middle class paying the price for government waste and other priorities get it; the government I’m sure gets it but needs the dough from somewhere and since the middle class is such a huge sector, gambles it can amortize an unfair portion of it from them. And frankly, ALL governments have gotten away with this far too long. Time for the middle class …. who WORK (sometimes two jobs) and still can barely survive from one payday to another, to let governments at all levels know they’re mad as hell and are not going to be the first ones to pay and the last ones to get more than a pittance of a any break. h.o.)

  25. BMCQ says:

    In my Post – 19

    I should have stated that the Carbon Tax and other Taxes included in Gas from Municipal, Federal, Provincial, Transit, and others which all are part of that Gas tax, they are ALL Usurious.

    The Original Blog Topic by Harvey and a few of the other Posts here including

    13 – 24 Harvey – 24 – Response

    Really explain almost all here.

    Now the question is this.

    Where and how do we get Politicians to address the concerns of the actual Employed Hard Working Canadians and Pensioners that build and built this country?

    Will any of the Three Major Canadian Federal Parties make any movement to address this disastrous and catastrophic affront to the Middle Class that “Feed the Engine” and Pay the Tolls?

    The problem with any Income taken in by any of the Three Levels of Government the Money is ALWAYS Squandered and in fact the Governments end up in Deficit.

    As to the UBC Sky Train Subway, the solution is there all we need is a little Imagination, Creativity, Political Leadership, and the willingness to show Vision.

  26. e.a.f. says:

    What 13 says is quite correct. However, once again I ask, what do you want cut? We can’t speak in generalities, who is being paid too much? which programs need to go? what will the impact of these programs being eliminated cost us in general within our society?
    Off to St. Paul’s now!

  27. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Bill Tieleman’s Kevin Falcon reference, in the Tyee: While Hansen sees far less differences in budgets than Clark, Kevin Falcon who was Hansen’s successor as Liberal finance minister, has a somewhat different view — one critical of the last Liberal government of Premier Christy Clark and finance minister Mike de Jong.

    Falcon: “I may get in trouble with some BC Liberals, but I support some of the elements of BC NDP spending. I can live with welfare increases and childcare spending, for example,” Falcon told me in an interview. Falcon is now executive vice-president for the Anthem Capital Corporation, an investment firm focused on real estate, mining and energy, technology and consumer products.

    “I realized after the BC Liberals second-last budget right away that they were in trouble — there was no significant investment in the things people were concerned about, like housing. It was a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ attitude,” Falcon said. “They totally missed it 100 per cent.”

    Other interesting quotes from four past finance ministers:


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