Liberal tax policies to blame for teacher strife

Ethan Baron, The Province

… There are an awful lot of things the government can’t afford to do these days. In spite of having a provincial economy growing at the healthy rate of around two per cent a year, the province can’t pay its workers enough to keep up with inflation. It can’t manage the justice system, it can’t manage forests, it can’t get B.C. off the top of the child-poverty list….

We shouldn’t even be having these polarized discussions about teacher pay. There should be enough money to give cost-of-living increases to teachers and other provincial public-sector workers.

The Liberal government’s taxation policies have choked off revenue streams, leaving far less than is needed to govern responsibly for the benefit of all British Columbians.

Of course, money doesn’t disappear. It just moves around. The Liberals’ massive cuts to corporate and personal income taxes simply diverted revenue from government coffers into corporate profits and the pockets of high income earners.

This government has slashed corporate income taxes to 10 per cent from 16.5 per cent when they took power in 2001. The Liberals’ just-released budget forecasts corporations’ pre-tax profit will hit $24.8 billion this year, $25.8 billion next year and $27.5 billion in 2014. But while the companies reap this bounty, the taxpayers of B.C. will receive a decreasing share: corporate income-tax revenues to government will represent nine per cent of corporate profits this year, then only eight per cent in each of the next two years. Before the Liberals came into office, about 13 per cent of corporate profits were handed over to the province.

Immediately upon taking power, this government cut personal income taxes 25 per cent. Provincial income-tax revenues dropped a third in the Liberals’ first decade in office. Meanwhile, the top one per cent of income earners saw their tax savings rise to $41,000 per year, more than the entire income of anyone in the bottom third of wage earners, according to a June report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives….

Year after year, B.C. has the worst child poverty in the country…

Freezes, however, cannot last forever, and these employees will need raises in the not-too-distant future. Under the current tax schemes, that can only mean more cuts to government services, and more back-door taxation through the provincial plundering of Crown corporations.