Which Taxes And How Much?

By James Breckenridge. The problem is not that letter writers Timi McIntosh and Thea Levesque of Abbotsford call upon the provincial government to raise taxes. The problem is that they failed to specify which taxes they want to raise and by how much they will raise those taxes.

Make no mistake, even though they never uttered the word taxes, the letters call for a significant tax increase.

The BCTF says the average teachers’ wage in B.C. is $71,485, and is seeking an 8% raise for the 41,000 teachers in the province. An increase in salary costs of $234.5 million per year.

The teachers demand the government spend $225 million on issues of class size, class composition, and staffing ratios – exclusively for the hiring of additional teachers. An increase of $225 million per year.

The final big ticket demand by teachers is an additional $225 million retroactive grievances fund as a resolution to Justice Griffin’s BC Supreme Court decision that retroactively restored the stripped language from 2002. An increase of $45 million per year [$225 million ÷ 5 year term]

Over ½ BILLION dollars of additional cost per year [234.5 + 225 + 45 = $504.5 million per year].

Examining the provincial budget reveals that when it comes to new or significantly increased spending the provincial piggy bank has already been broken open and emptied.

For the provincial government any significant increase in spending requires an offsetting significant increase in revenue to pay for the increased spending.

When you call upon the government to give the teachers what they want, you are calling upon the provincial government to increase taxes to cover the increased spending; spending [and taxes] that in this case totals more than ½ Billion dollars.

If one proposes a significant increase in taxes one needs to set out what taxes one proposes to increase and the amount [size] of the tax increase.

It is easy to state ‘I would pay more taxes for education.’

The important question is not ‘would you pay more’ but ‘would you pay $500 more? a $1,000 more?; $2,000 more? $5,000 more? ‘would you pay more taxes sufficient to cover the ½ Billion dollar cost of the teachers demands?’

The fact that McIntosh, Levesque, the teachers and the Media avoid addressing the significant size of the proposed increase in provincial spending does not in anyway change the reality that such an increase must be paid for.

A ½ Billion dollar increase in spending requires a ½ Billion dollar increase in taxes to pay for the increase in spending.

Unless McIntosh and Levesque are calling upon the provincial government to pay for the increases in teachers salaries not by raising taxes, but by cutting healthcare by the ½ Billion dollar cost of the teachers demands?

In these days of CAVEAT EMPTOR [or perhaps more properly ‘let the viewer/listener/reader beware’] days of shallow and incomplete coverage of issues by the media, citizens need to carefully and fully think through the consequences of actions called for by special interests and/or politicians.

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