|TroothPress - Climate Change|
|Carbon tax in BC|
Marc Lee, Vancouver Sun - October 30, 2008
Introducing a new tax is never a popular political move, so it was notable when British Columbia's government, known more for its tax cutting, brought in Canada's first broad-based carbon tax in February's budget.
In politics, timing is everything. Between Feb. 19, when the B.C. budget tabled the carbon tax, and July 1, when it was implemented, prices at the pump rose to record levels. At the start of July, Vancouver gas prices peaked at more than $1.50 per litre, about 40 cents higher than at budget time. The carbon tax counted for a mere 2.3 cents per litre of that increase, but quickly became a lightning rod for public anger about higher fuel prices. Now that gas prices have come back down, it is a good time to revisit the carbon tax and how it affects different households in B.C. It is important to get the details right because the carbon tax is supposed to steadily increase over time, and will eventually have major impacts on both household and provincial budgets. As with sales or consumption taxes, lower-income households will feel the impact of carbon taxes more intensely.