B.C. Finance Minister Carole James. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Bills to grow bigger in 2019 for B.C. residents

Employer health tax, ICBC, fuel taxes top list of new costs

Household budgets don’t balance themselves, and B.C. residents are looking ahead to tax and fee increases that will have to be accommodated in 2019.

First up for many will be property assessments, as municipalities calculate their property taxes for the year. With a new employer health tax on business and municipal payrolls above $500,000, plus the remaining year of Medical Services Plan premiums for employers who cover their employers, city councils are looking at property tax hikes of up to five per cent for 2019.

For Surrey, the double cost for 2019 is estimated to be $4.7 million, then $3.35 million the year after when MSP is eliminated. Businesses have also noted that the burden of employee MSP premiums is less than the payroll tax the NDP government has imposed to recover the revenue.

Asked about that burden in a year-end interview with Black Press, Premier John Horgan emphasized that self-employed and small business people have been paying their own MSP, and large businesses are getting other benefits from his government’s policies.

“In the interim, those very businesses that are asking for more child care, asking for housing affordability so they can retain employees, are getting those services they need,” Horgan said.

WATCH: Premier Horgan talks taxes in year-end interview

For renters, the province has capped the maximum rent increase for 2019 at 2.5 per cent, the federal estimate of inflation for the year.

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. has applied for a 6.5 per cent increase to basic vehicle insurance for 2019, as it struggles with rising accident rates and injury claims. By the fall of 2019, the province is imposing a cap on pain and suffering claims against ICBC and adjusting rates to reflect the higher accident risk of new drivers and urban areas.

While other Canadian provinces see the imposition of a carbon tax on fuels for the first time, B.C.’s decade-old carbon tax goes up from $35 to $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions on April 1. That translates to nearly nine cents per litre on gasoline, on top of the existing regional, provincial and federal fuel and sales taxes.

RELATED: Metro Vancouver gasoline tax rises to fund transit

For home natural gas users, FortisBC has increased its rates nine per cent for 2019, after gas fell to record lows and the utility was charging more for carbon tax than it was for gas.

Another bite to the paycheque is an increase in Canada Pension Plan, which the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation estimates will cost the average worker an extra $98 in 2019. It’s the first of five annual increases to CPP premiums designed to shore up the plan as baby boomers retire in large numbers.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Remembrance Days in 1939 and 1945 through historical archives

Abbotsford News reporting shows the anxieties of people living through conflict

Remembrance Day service at Thunderbird Memorial Square

Event in Abbotsford on Monday, Nov. 11 hosted by Royal Canadian Legion

VIDEOS: First-ever PPW champion crowned in Abbotsford

Highlights and results from Saturday’s Championship Tournament event

Chicken Soup for the Soul author to speak in Abbotsford

Frances McGuckin at House of James on Nov. 14

Mill Lake poses flood risk, dredging may be considered

City may consider storm sewer filters to improve water quality in lake

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Coquihalla drivers urged to be careful amid freezing rain alert

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

14 SeaBus cancellations, free rides for veterans from TransLink on Remembrance Day

Free rides also available for current Armed Forces members, first responders

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Lest we forget: Remembrance Day ceremonies around the Lower Mainland

This Remembrance Day marks 101 since the end of World War I

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Most Read