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

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Suspect arrested after allegedly setting house fire in Cedar

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road on Thursday

CVRD cancels all recreation and theatre programs through end of April

Community centre and recreation programs cancelled through end of April

Ladysmith Rotary Club donates 2,000 gloves to Ladysmith Health Centre

Due to a typo, the Rotary Club ended up with 3,500 gloves. Enough to last them 10 years

VIDEO: How doctors in Canada will decide who lives and dies if pandemic worsens

Officials in several provinces have been developing guides so that doctors don’t feel alone

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Most Read