Our taxation system – the way we pay for vital public services - is being undermined. The amount of money government collects to spend on the collective “us” is on the decline. Government spending on programs and services is getting smaller – not larger, as one might expect in a growing and aging province. In fact, in relation to GDP, the BC Liberal government will spend $7.7 billion less this year than in 2001/02.
There is a cost attached to every tax cut this government has delivered. A cost that hits working people hardest – for every small amount of money saved on your income tax, you pay for in increased fees and reduced services.
The need for a public conversation on the role and benefits of a fair and progressive taxation system is paramount. The impacts of this government’s under-funding are felt everywhere – our classrooms are overcrowded, our ER’s are overflowing, homelessness is growing, and poverty is on the rise.
Despite the rich natural resources and general prosperity in our province, poverty remains a pressing issue. According to Statistics Canada, BC’s poverty rate is the highest in Canada at 10.7 percent, and alarmingly, the child poverty rate is even higher at 11.3 percent. According to First Call, 1 in 5 children are living in poverty in BC.
The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen as the poor are taking home a smaller percentage of Canada’s wealth.
A recent report out of the Broadbent Institute concludes that the top 10 percent of Canadians own almost half (47.9 per cent) of all the assets in the country. And even more concerning, the bottom half of the population share a mere six percent of the wealth.
This is a shameful reality. It is time for the wage gap to close and for renewed investment in the public services and economic opportunity that benefits everyone.
The BCFED has been active in shaping that conversation. The Failed Policies reports, released in 2011, started that dialogue, and it continues today through participation in workshops and conferences and work with progressive organizations and coalition partners
Read the Failed Policies Reports for more information on this important issue: