September, 2017
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British Columbians face hikes for Hydro, ICBC, property taxes and more

THE Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) says that what taxpayers will save from the federal government will be more than what will be taken away by the province and cities.

The two main federal measures are changes to Employment Insurance (EI) premiums which will result in tax savings of up to $132 for employees and $185 for employers, and the first full year of the means-tested Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which is also tax-free.

“What the feds giveth in tax relief, the provinces and cities more than happily taketh away,” said Jordan Bateman, BC Director for the CTF. “It will be another year with higher taxes and fees for BC taxpayers.”

The modest relief by the federal government will be more than eaten up by various provincial and municipal tax and fee increases, including:

* Medical Services Premium tax (January 1, 2017): Any couple without children making more than $45,000 will pay $168 more this year. Any senior couple making more than $51,000 will pay $168 more this year. However, some households will see MSP go down, including singles making less than $42,000, couples making less than $45,000, senior couples making less than $51,000, single parent families, and families with kids making less than $51,000.

* BC Hydro (April 1, 2017): The average residential customer will pay $49.32 more this year.

* ICBC (January 16, 2017): The average driver will pay $42 more this year for basic insurance and $18 more for optional insurance.

* Property taxes (July 1, 2017): Many cities across BC are still finalizing their tax hikes, but most are raising taxes 2 to 5 per cent. In Vancouver, the average homeowner will pay $156 more – $83 more for taxes and $73 more for utilities. Vancouver’s empty home tax (1% of a home’s assessed value) also comes into effect this year.

* TransLink property tax and fare hike (July 1, 2017): $5 more this year for the average property; 5 to 10 cents for single-use fares, and $1 to $3 for monthly passes.

*  BC Ferries has its commissioner’s permission to raise its fares 1.9 per cent this year, although it has not confirmed its plan to do so.

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