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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

BC Tax Cut an MLA Raise!

Remember just over a year ago when our MLAs attempted to give themselves a pay hike, and the provincial NDP went along with it until public opinion forced them to go back to the house and reject it!
Well, they finally got their raise, and no one is saying a word about it!
How’d they do it?
Remember when the BC Liberals tabled their budget and everyone earning over $25,000 annually received a ten per cent tax cut!
BC MLAs earn upwards of $70,000 a year. The tax cut provides people in the MLA’s tax bracket between $60 and $100 extra a month. Its not quite what they were asking for when they tried to give themselves a raise, but its a step towards it!
When the MLAs tried to give themselves the raise the opposition battle cry was that giving themselves a raise while so many were homeless and in poverty was unconscionable. Odd isn’t it, that when those same MLAs decided to okay a tax cut, there was no similar hue and cry.
Its bad enough the Campbell government would try to pass themselves off as “compassionate” by increasing the provincial welfare shelter rates as somehow benefitting those on relief, when it was really just a raise for slum lords. It was worse when they tried to appear like they were addressing the issue of homelessness, not by building houses, but by increasing the number of emergency shelter beds. But to disguise lining their own pockets as a tax cut, is the ultimate in cynicism.
And even worse is the NDPs silence on the issue.
When this tax cut, or MLA raise, was introduced, I wrote to every member of the opposition and suggested they send back their share of the tax cut and demand it be used to address homelessness and poverty in the province. Do you know how many of those MLAs I heard back from?
Not a single one!
Many in the middle class argue that the relief was needed, but ignore the fact that whatever relief was contained in the package will be eaten up by rising housing costs, increased government service fees, daycare costs and the like. They also seem to be ignoring the fact that failing to deal with homelessness and poverty will eventually lead to rising costs for justice and emergency services. In the end game, the tax cut will cost much more than it relieves.
Then there is the little matter of whether we should be giving out tax cuts while so many are falling through the cracks. If the middle class need tax relief, imagine how it must be for those who don’t have enough to feed and house themselves.
No, the recent tax cuts were not designed to help people up. They were designed to give the MLAs what they wanted to give themselves before but were denied.
Remember Liberal MLA Mayencourt’s tearful rail against the NDP for stopping the MLA raise? Methinks he has stopped crying now.
Meanwhile, the NDP, who just love to give lip service to the plight of the poor, are quietly taking their raise to the bank. Sure they will rant about how tax cuts to the rich are abominable, but they are not going to do anything to keep that money from reaching their wallets.
Next time you hear any MLA in BC, oppositon or government, talking about the pleasure of serving, remember, they are only serving themselves.


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