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

Maple Ridge HandyDART driver worried about safety with COVID-19

Union says operators need more personal protective equipment

Ridge Meadows RCMP release year end review video

List detachment’s successes throughout 2019

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows issue fire bans

Cities say poor air quality from smoke could further exacerbate current COVID-19 climate

VIDEO: RCMP bring 7 p.m. parade to front doors of Ridge Meadows Hospital

Cruisers with lights and sirens blaring give boost to those working within

WEATHER: Mainly cloudy with a chance of showers

Temperatures to reach a high of 11 C

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Most Read