Finances in British Columbia: The problem
The province of British Columbia has moved into dangerous territory with its current government finances and tax policies. Our long term financial stability is at risk.
The BC NDP have been steadily increasing personal and business taxes while also growing the public sector at an alarming rate. The public sector has grown from 310,000 to 490,000 employees since 2017. This bureaucratic growth is unsustainable, especially when combined with a tax structure that is no longer competitive.
BC now has Canada’s highest effective tax rate on new capital investment and a very high marginal personal tax for middle wage earners. This tax structure is slowing investment and driving away business that would otherwise be attracted to BC.
BC’s GDP per capita has now fallen behind all geographic neighbours, including Alberta, Washington and Oregon. We are already behind in productivity.
If we do not right the ship, the cost to future generations will be crushing.
Financial Security in British Columbia: Michael Lee’s Approach
Michael Lee is serious about addressing BC’s sinking finances. He is bringing forward practical policies to ensure we begin our needed course correction with our government finances as well as our corporate and personal tax structures.
Michael Lee will end the bureaucratic waste in BC. He will also ensure we create a competitive and robust business climate. Higher productivity will mean higher pay and growing productivity will lead to higher wages.
Michael Lee will ensure our government's economic policy will focus on productivity and growth. His government will work to have BC lead Canada in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita growth. Everything, including a tax review, will be run through that lens.
There are some immediate steps Michael Lee will take as premier of British Columbia to ensure our financial security - for individuals, for families, and for our economy.
Financial Security in British Columbia: Immediate Steps
- Commit to a plan for a balanced budget after being elected premier.
- Make BC the “smartest government” in Canada by eliminating inefficiencies and modernizing to move at the speed of data.
- Create a First Nations Investment Bank to assist in building capacity and financing to accelerate the pace of investment and reduce investor uncertainty for Indigenous communities.
- Commit to a thorough review of the tax burden on British Columbians, including all three levels of government, with a special lens on small businesses and low income British Columbians.
- Appoint a “blue-ribbon prosperity table” to evaluate proposed policies and provide advice on reforms through a productivity and wages lens.
- Lower BC’s effective tax rate on new capital investment.
- Increase the income threshold for the small business and corporate tax rate. Increase the number of marginal tax increases between the small business rate (2%) and corporate rate (12%) to lessen the penalty for growing companies as they scale up.
- Increase the threshold at which the notched rate for the Employer Health Tax kicks in, as the current threshold hurts startups and pre-revenue companies.
- Cap combined provincial/federal personal income tax in BC at 50%.
- Bolster the use of micro-credentialing programs to upskill the workforce and to increase productivity and wages.
- Make BC a leader in green mining. Pledge to open new mines for raw materials needed to power electric vehicles and the green economy in concert with Indigenous partners.