COLUMNS: New taxes coming home to roost

At a time when gas prices have hit an all-time high in British Columbia, you have to wonder

At a time when gas prices have hit an all-time high in British Columbia, you have to wonder why the provincial government went ahead with a hike to the carbon tax last month.

As a matter of fact, the government plans to quadruple the carbon tax every April 1st for the next four years.

Premier John Horgan says the carbon tax is not to blame for higher gas prices. “We need to refine more raw product so we can meet the demand in our community,” he says.

To that end, the Premier says he has been in conversation with Washington Governor Jay Inslee for months about increasing refinery capacity south of the border.

I am not sure how increasing profits in the U.S. will benefit us, but Canadian businessman David Black has been pitching for a new refinery in Kitimat since 2012. That makes a great deal more sense to me than the current government’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline.

It’s quite clear that we would benefit a lot more from the resource jobs, public revenues and energy security than fighting the Alberta and federal governments in court. The problem with an unbridled carbon tax is that hits consumers more than at the gas pump. Just about everything from food to furniture is delivered by truck in this country, and increased overhead for delivery is always passed along to the end user – you and me.

If you heat your home with natural gas or oil, you will also pay more. And if you use electricity instead, hydro rates went up 3 per cent on April 1 too.

An increased carbon tax is just one of a number of revenue generators that is proving unpopular with the general public. Others include the new payroll tax (EHT) and the partially abandoned Speculation tax.

While it’s been almost a year since last year’s election results, the only thing we know for certain is that voters will have the final say in all this.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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