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

‘We just have to keep going’: Smaller weddings with bigger hearts ahead as weddings adapt to COVID-19

A struggling hospitality industry wary but hopeful of future amid industry-shaking changes

Sumas First Nation pilots eight-inch gill-net fishery in Sumas/Vedder River

Project in Abbotsford renews fishing practice and data gathering of chinook salmon

Chilliwack home built in 1910 will be saved from demolition

The 110-year-old house on Hope River Road is being relocated to nearby Riverside Drive

TRAFFIC: Possible injuries in reported crash near Popkum

Drivers advised to avoid the roundabout between Agassiz and Popkum

Police watchdog investigating after Abbotsford man seriously injured during arrest

Abbotsford police used ‘less lethal firearm’ and dog in arrest of man believed to have gun

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Abbotsford woman starts petition to have B.C. government help with IVF costs

Jennifer Kuiken says cost of in vitro fertilization is too high for most people

‘Let’s all do a self-check’: Okanagan mayor reacts to racist vandalism targeting local family

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

PHOTOS: Inside a newly-listed $22M mega-mansion on ALR land in B.C.

The large home, located on ALR land, is one of the last new mansions to legally be built on ALR land

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

RCMP searching for culprit behind needle-filled lemons left on Coquitlam-area trails

The two lemons found were thrown away leaving police with little evidence

Most Read