When governments tell you they're holding the line on taxes, don't believe them.
The two levels of government are nailing taxpayers in 2013 with a series of fee hikes. The result: You may be in for quite a shock when you receive your first diluted paycheque of 2013.
Increasing fees for various services allow governments to claim they aren't raising taxes, but it feels just like a tax increase. Fee hikes also operate on a user-pay basis, which isn't a bad idea except when it's a necessary service some people can no longer afford.
The B.C. branch of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation just came out with a list of fee hikes B.C. residents can expect in 2013.
We should all be as outraged as the federation is over increases to the Medical Services Plan, in particular.
"The B.C. government has raised their so-called health care tax again - this time from $128 per month for a family to $133. That means the MSP has increased 24 per cent in just three years - adding $300 in annual taxes, writes CTF B.C. director Jordan Bateman
"The MSP hike is especially objectionable," he goes on. "Even if you don't use the health care system, you are forced to pay this so-called "user fee.â€¦ In truth, it's a regressive tax."
And a basic necessity. This premium should be lower.
Penticton resorted to the same
approach as senior governments to avoid property tax hikes. The city was singled out by the taxpayers federation as a rare municipality that won't raise taxes next year - yet residents are
being hit with increases in electrical and water rates and garbage collection fees.
Kelowna property taxes are predicted to jump 2.58 per cent.
The federal government is raising Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums. Employees who maxed their 2012 contributions in the fall and enjoyed bigger paycheques late in the year will see the contributions resume in January. Your take-home pay will be slashed.
Earlier this month, the feds confirmed a large hike in passport fees.
It's all too much. With increases like these, it's no wonder Canadians find it hard to build up their savings.
Governments should put as much effort into controlling fees as they doin spinning their no-tax-hike pledges.
- City Editor Pat Bulmer