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

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

School District 20 to improve childcare services for those working in emergency services

The district has launched a survey to aid in the consultation process

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

Scholarship up for grabs for Rossland art students

The $250 scholarship is being provided by the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture

COVID-19 adds worry and unexpected costs to Castlegar woman’s cancer fight

Community fundraiser raises $9,000 for Jennifer Rodrigues’ family

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Most Read