B.C. Finance Minister Carole James. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

No municipal break for B.C. health care payroll tax

Non-profits, school districts, universities still being considered, Carole James says

Municipal governments will have to cover the costs of the B.C. government’s health care payroll tax, because they can raise property taxes to do it, Finance Minister Carole James says.

The tax is being phased in starting January 2019, as Medical Services Plan premiums are phased out with a 50 per cent reduction taking place at the same time. For municipalities that already pay MSP premiums on behalf of their employees, extra costs for 2019 will have to be covered.

“They aren’t going to get any relief,” James said Monday when asked about municipalities who are looking at raising property taxes.

“We’re still in discussions with charities, not-for-profits, school boards and universities, the groups that don’t have the ability to be able to bring in revenue.”

RELATED: Fraser Valley farmers face payroll tax

The Union of B.C. Municipalities surveyed members as they prepared their 2018-19 budgets and they reported their costs are expected to double between 2017 and 2020 as a result of the payroll tax. The City of Victoria is considering a two per cent increase to cover the extra costs.

The “employers health tax” takes effect in 2019 at 1.95 per cent of payroll for businesses and organizations with payrolls of more than $1.5 million. A lower rate applies for payrolls between $500,000 and $1.5 million, and those below $500,000 are exempt.

The payroll tax applies whether employers pay their employees’ MSP premiums or not. James emphasized that while property taxes may go up, individuals stand to save $800 a year or more if they have been paying their own MSP premiums.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

UPDATE: Anonymous tip leads DFO night patrol to Fraser River poachers

Charges pending after poachers arrested at night while fishing, 48 sockeye, harbour seal seized

Wildfire update: Fires burning in Fraser Canyon, Highway 7 and Skagit Valley

Several fires in the region are under ‘modified response’ meaning no firefighters are attending

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Chilliwack is home to Sasquatch, the first Canadian-designed hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, the Sasquatch hop is the country’s first patented hops plant

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

1954-built trolleybus hits Vancouver roads for 70th anniversary

TransLink to offer free rides on a retrofitted electric trolley bus to commemorate anniversary

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Langley teacher who screamed at, grabbed elementary students suspended

This is the second four-month suspension for the Langley teacher.

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Fredericton widow swears at Trudeau during condolence call

Widow of man killed in Fredericton shooting says she swore at Trudeau during condolence call.

Most Read