Columnist Tom Fletcher states his view that B.C.’s carbon tax is “just another sales tax.” I see it quite differently for several reasons not mentioned by Tom. First, with the introduction of the carbon tax, the provincial income tax was reduced five per cent for the bottom two tax brackets. This reduction is still in place today.
Second, every quarter low-income earning British Columbians receive a rebate cheque to offset the disproportionate impact of the carbon tax on them. Third, some of the revenue of the carbon tax will be used to maintain the competitiveness of B.C.’s trade exposed industries in order to neutralize the competitive advantage B.C.’s carbon tax gives industries in other countries. So I do not see the carbon tax as “just another sales tax” but instead a tax that goes a long way toward revenue neutrality — a concept that caused Tom to argue in favour of the carbon tax a decade ago.
Furthermore I agree with Tom — a revenue neutral carbon tax is a good idea. However, the carbon tax should be steadily rising at least until the taxpayer cost of human caused carbon pollution is fully covered. Also many economists agree this is the most efficient way to shift investments to renewable and low carbon energy thereby avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.