B.C. Finance Minister Carole James presents her 2020 budget at the Victoria Conference Centre, Feb. 18, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

The B.C. NDP government is adding another high-income tax measure this year, a new top marginal rate of 20.5 per cent.

Finance Minister Carole James announced the new bracket in her third B.C. budget Tuesday, noting that it will only apply to B.C. tax filers with incomes above $220,000. More than half of the revenue from the new top bracket is expected to come from individuals with incomes above $1 million, and B.C.’s income tax rate will still be third lowest among Canadian provinces for individuals earning up to $475,000, James said.

in her first full budget in 2018, James restored a top tax bracket that had been put in place by the previous B.C. Liberal government for two years. She reimposed a two-per-cent increase that applies to income of more than $150,000 a year.

The latest increases push total income tax for high-income earners close to 50 per cent, combining federal and provincial income tax rates. As of 2019, B.C.’s top combined federal and provincial personal income tax rate is 49.8 per cent, applying to income of $150,000 and up. That’s about 13 per cent higher than the rate in Washington and Alaska, neither of which has a state income tax.

“B.C.’s tax regime is simply uncompetitive with not only neighbouring U.S. states, but several Canadian provinces,” said Ben Eisen, a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute who produced a study called Assessing British Columbia’s Tax Competitiveness in 2019.

RELATED: B.C.’s top income tax bracket close to 50%

RELATED: Small firms face employer health tax in 2020

At the other end of the income scale, the B.C. NDP’s program goal of a $15-an-hour minimum wage will be reached this year, as first promised by Premier John Horgan when he was opposition leader in 2016. The NDP government committed to a series of increases that will bring the basic wage to above $15 by 2021, affecting 140,000 people in B.C., James told the legislature in her budget speech.

Former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver objected to the 2021 deadline for reaching $15 when it was announced, calling for a “Fair Wage Commission” to determine the rate rather than arbitrarily meeting a deadline that the B.C. Federation of Labour considered too slow. The commission was agreed to as part of the minority government support deal with the Greens, but result has ended up the same.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. Budget 2020BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

Routes he drove have not been disclosed

Surrey mayor denies property tax deferral motion

Councillor’s notice of motion for Surrey property taxes to be deferred until Dec. 2 out of order

Team refunds OK’d for cancelled Surrey Mayor’s Cup soccer tournament

The decision follows the amalgamation of the Central City Breakers club with Surrey Football Club

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read