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2014 B.C. Budget Commentary

On 18 February 2014, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled his so-called 2014 boring budget. The following is a summary of the tax highlights. The information contained herein is current as of the last revision date below.

Personal Tax Changes

Business Tax Changes

Other Changes

child protection


Despite Mr. de Jong called this budget boring, it contains changes that have significant impacts on British Columbians. Most notably are the increase in MSP premium and, to a lesser extent, the threshold increase for the PTT exemption for first-time home buyers.

As raising tax becomes more and more politically unacceptable, the B.C. government will be more inclined to balance its budget by raising fees (such as toll fee from bridges) and taxation on natural resource extraction. The taxation regime for liquefaction of natural gas operators in B.C. announced in this Budget sheds some insight on the B.C. government's financial bottom line in selling natural gas.

The most disturbing budget increase is the additional funding of $15 million over three years for Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) for children and youth with special needs. This marks the third consecutive budget increase in MCFD from $1,330,591,000 in 2012-13 to $1,356.419,000 in 2014-15. The child protection industry won another round in seeking more fundings for its service providers. Be mindful that police escort is often called when child protection workers remove children from their parents. Subsequent legal battles on child custody are often funded by legal aid services. To accommodate child removal activities, it costs taxpayers an additional $15 million over three years for increased RCMP policing costs and $6 million for legal aid-related services.

Higher tax on tobacco may not reduce use of the harmful substance and may encourage cigarette smuggling. Smokers should pay a higher MSP premium to ensure that they pay a fair share in medical care related to their unhealthy habit. Differential premiums between smokers and non-smokers are common in the insurance industry. However, Premier Christy Clark has rejected this notion in the past, probably due to political reasons, and is unlikely to accept a more equitable MSP premium structure in the foreseeable future.

[This page was added on 3 March 2014, last revised 12 March 2014.]