Gordon Campbell in Back to the Future IV

Sometimes you have to be up above the clouds, away from the world you inhabit with too much intensity to figure things out.

I’m on my way out east, thinking about the TV speech last night.

Last night the Premier, in the worst trouble in his public life, went on TV to change the channel.  All we got was a tired rerun of a bad episode from his first season.

When in doubt his default play is a tax break.  And just like his 2001 tax break this one mainly benefits the wrong people.  It’s a break in taxes on the first $72,000 anyone makes.  Yes it goes to everyone.  In fact the top 20 per cent gets 50 per cent of the benefits.

And of course the usual suspects line up to applaud.  From the editorial pages of the Sun to the front groups that did the damage for the BC Liberals in the last campaign it’s the same old ‘grab the money and run’ support.

It’s all wrong.

Here are three pretty obvious reasons why.

We don’t know how it will be paid for.  Campbell claims that higher than expected corporate revenues will provide the money.  But he doesn’t really know that.  They’re projections, not reality and we know how well those have turned out over the last few years. These don’t look much more solid.  BC central has just downgraded their forecast for BC’s economy next year.  Isn’t it better to eat your chickens after they are hatched?

We already have an enormous deficit.  We shouldn’t be adding to it:  Really, it is simple.  Shouldn’t we work on getting back to balance before splurging on another lump of caviar?

There are more important things: money’s tight for health, schools are being closed across the province, we still have the most kids living in poverty in teh country and we aren’t training enough skilled workers for a successful economy ten years from now.  If we spend money now shouldn’t it be on the things that last, that will make us a better place to live over the long run?

If that’s not enough there is the economy.  A tax break spent mostly on those at the high end won’t do much for our economy.  it won’t speed up commerce like new infrastructure can.  It won’t attract new green business like highly skilled employees can.  It won’t help rural communities like renewed investment in the forestry can.

A tax break is a tired old idea that is disconnected from the real needs of our economy and its disconnected from the needs of our people. But isn’t that kind of like our Premier and the Kool-aid drinking members of the BC liberal caucus?

As I was waiting for the plane to board the last thing I read on-line (sad, isn’t it?) was Carole James reaction.  She came out against this lame idea.  It’s not often a politician comes out against a tax break but this one was the right one to come out against – a bribe that does nothing to move our province forward.  Good for her for putting the province ahead of cheap politics.

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3 Responses to Gordon Campbell in Back to the Future IV

  1. Shamus says:

    The more I think about it, the more this income tax break makes me completely enraged. It’s basically a “fuck you” to the next government. It will do nothing to help the province, it will further erode the tax base, and it will force a future responsible government to raise taxes and face the devastating concerted attack of BC’s right wing media or make the easier and more detrimental decision to cut services. Even with 9% support, the Premier is the Premier and still has extraordinary power to hurt BC.

  2. mariner says:

    I welcome an income tax break as do most other people. However, that tax break has to be paid for somehow and you can be rest assured it will increased taxes (HST) on most things and cuts in services and increased premiums for MSP etc.

    The only thing Pinocchio Gordon “the liar” Campbell has achieved with the televison address, is to dig himself deeper into doo-doo.

    Given Campbell’s track record of lies, deceit, dishonesty and corruption, no one I know of takes him seriously any more. He is still the premier and as such, weilds a lot of power – but that sure doesn’t necessarily make him good or right.

    Thanks for the income tax break Campbell, you will not get my vote for your party or your government. Like most honesty people, I can’t be bought – which must come as quite a shock to you eh !

    Thanks.

  3. Marc says:

    Ian you are right – this is back to the future. This tax cut is 100% consistent with Gordon Campbell’s two primary objectives from day 1 of his mandate:
    – remove the progressiveness of the BC tax system
    – transfer the burden of funding government services to the middle class in the form of user fees

    BC now has ridiculously low marginal tax rates and yet the middle class don’t feel like they are getting ahead. Why? Because every other tax and fee they pay to the province has gone up: HST, MSP, tuition fees, user fees for supplemental health services, user fees in parks, tolls on roads and bridges, etc…

    I understand the NDP’s messaging that this is “desperate” in the current political context, but the reality is that it is far from that. It is, in my view the feather in the cap of the Campbell administration’s ideological agenda.

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