Green budget includes personal tax cuts
JEFF HODSON/METRO VANCOUVER
British Columbians will be paying more at the pump but will get the money back in tax cuts, credits and a $100 climate action dividend, Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced yesterday as she unveiled her revenue-neutral carbon tax that is expected to raise $1.8 billion over three years.
The tax, which takes effect July 1, aims at shifting consumer choice away from fossil fuel use and toward more environmentally friendly options.
"This could be a social movement in British Columbia," said Taylor, who wore a green skirt and jacket and green John Fluevog heels to match her green budget.
"People, given the money back to make their own choices, will decide: For British Columbia this is important, for my family this is important.
"We will start individually to make the changes, that collectively, we have to do if we’re going to meet our targets. It’s an important time."
The tax was lauded by environmentalists, but decried by groups who felt the new tax could hurt commerce in the province.
The new tax means British Columbians will pay an additional 2.4 cents a litre at the pump and 2.8 cents per litre for diesel and heating oil.
For the average family of four, with one parent earning $60,000, it would increase household costs by about $45 per year, Taylor said.
In exchange, personal income taxes, for the bottom personal income tax brackets (up to $70,000 annually), will be cut by 2 per cent in 2008 and 5 per cent in 2009. Lower-income earners will receive an annual "climate action credit" of $100 per adult, $30 per child.
As well, in order to encourage a greener lifestyle, the province is funding a "climate action dividend" —a $100, one-time payout for every person in B.C.
The cheques will be mailed in June.
Taylor, who has been walking to work since January, said she plans to use her $100 dividend to buy new running shoes.