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Liberal Party.

Discuss the upcoming provincial election. Keep it civil in here, people. It's not the Political Arena.

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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby maple leaf » Jan 18th, 2013, 11:47 am

How The B.C. Government Is Picking Our Pockets
Posted: 01/17/2013 6:57 pm

The B.C. government likes to boast that the province's personal income tax rates are among the lowest in the land, if not the lowest. Expect to hear it repeated a lot in TV ads over the coming weeks, when the legislature reconvenes in February and when the 2013 provincial budget is tabled.

On one level they're right. On another it's a bit of a pig in a poke, because income taxes are just one part of any government's revenue mix.

Governments can and do cut income tax rates for a variety of political reasons, while simultaneously raising fees on a dizzying array of other services to offset those cuts. Somehow they can do both at the same time with a straight face. The B.C. government is no wallflower when it comes to the tomfoolery.

Bottom line though: is it fair to form any opinion about a province's fiscal shape just by comparing income tax rates without a more thorough analysis of each province's programs, transfers, user fees and its fiscal relationship with local governments? No province is a fiscal carbon copy of another.

Case in point: according to a chart in the B.C. government's 2012 budget highlights, B.C. has the lowest personal income tax for those earning $80,000 and Quebec the highest.

But Quebec doesn't charge its citizens monthly health care premiums, it has a universal pharmacare system, $7 a day public child care, and its university students pay the lowest tuition fees in Canada. Forty per cent of Quebecers don't even pay personal income taxes.

Fault their choices, but Quebecers have chosen governments that have maintained these programs — financed in part through higher income taxes than other provinces — over successive elections.

On the flip side, Alberta — which according to the B.C. government has the second lowest income taxes for those earning $80,000 — has no provincial sales tax. And like Quebec, Alberta has no health care premiums.

It's simply disingenuous for the B.C. government to thump its chest over the province's income tax rates without factoring in the myriad of other fees it levies on citizens as well. As an example, health care premiums brought in $1.86 billion last year, an increase of 95 per cent over 2002. Motor vehicle licenses and permits brought in another $479 million.

Add it all up and we're talking some hefty coin. According to a 2011 report by B.C.'s auditor general, the government collects more than $4 billion from fee-based goods and services. So perhaps instead of boasting about income tax rates, it would be better to speak of an overall tax burden.

In 2012, the B.C. government collected $17.6 billion in taxes — from income to HST to carbon — or $3,800 for every man, woman and child; a number that excludes corporate income taxes.

Add on health-care premiums and motor vehicle licences and we're talking another $2.34 billion or $505 per capita. That's $700 million more than the province collected in corporate income tax. But it doesn't stop there.

An argument can also be made that other new fees-for-service and rate increases are often financing programs and economic development plans that would otherwise be assumed by the province and presumably paid for through increased taxes in the absence of these other fees.

Quickpass sounds nifty, but it's still collecting a toll and tolls are arguably a form of taxation, albeit charged directly to users of a bridge or highway.

While gambling is not in the pure sense a tax, it is a cash cow. In 2012, the B.C. Lottery Corporation contributed $878 million to the province's bottom line, up 95 per cent over 2002. The pockets picked — voluntarily in most cases — were primarily those of B.C. taxpayers.

A toll here, a casino there and the B.C. government is doing its best to find more and more imaginative ways of picking our pockets without hiking income tax rates. But our pockets are still picked.

Love them or loath them, the Fraser Institute has B.C. in fifth place when it comes to the organization's annual Tax Freedom Day when citizens purportedly stop working for the government and start working for themselves. Not bad, but far from first place.

B.C. may be able to boast to some of Canada's lowest personal income tax rates, but that's a far cry from being able to argue that B.C. taxpayers are getting off the hook; because just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a tax by any other name costs as much.

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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby abbyrugby » Jan 18th, 2013, 1:27 pm

That was a great read and definitely exposed some of the myths being spread by the Libs.
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby Smurf » Jan 19th, 2013, 10:07 pm

Good reading , but should be no surprise to anyone. Nab has been pointing these facts out for ages.
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby Alvis » Jan 21st, 2013, 2:17 pm

ScottSA wrote:If I say yes will you stop twisting everything I say until it's unrecognisable?

Why in the word would I forego a pension plan that I'll have to pay into like everyone else?

You should be far more concerned about the expense accounts I'll have access to and how I use them. There's not a lot of money to be had from salary alone as an MLA. On that score I intend to be the most transparent MLA in the history of the universe.

You're still claiming to be a different animal to the BC Liberals but you say the same thing. You're even planning on abusing your expense account and you have yet to be elected.
Don't blame me for what YOU say. I have no control over that but I can ask questions to keep you accountable. I find it disturbing that once a tough question comes along you use the old "They're picking on me!" defense. Man up and earn the vote, don't make excuses. Politcs is a messy ugly business, I've spent my time there.


As for your comment on MLA salary "There's not a lot of money to be had from salary alone as an MLA." That is just ignorant and shows how out of touch you are! Many people struggle in this province on a fraction of what the MLAs make and they have not had the luxury of double digit pay increases over the last 12 years (in many cases they've had wage freezes and roll backs!) and here you whine about it! Then you go on to make threats of abusing your expense account! Disgusting.
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby NAB » Jan 21st, 2013, 2:58 pm

ScottSA wrote:
You should be far more concerned about the expense accounts I'll have access to and how I use them.


Alvis wrote:
You're even planning on abusing your expense account and you have yet to be elected.


No matter how many times I read the related posts Alvis, I'll be damned if I can figure out how you can manage to interprete ScottSA's words that way. You do indeed seem to be making an extra effort to twist his comments into meaning something different than intended.

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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby maple leaf » Jan 24th, 2013, 11:16 am

Christy Clarks next egocentric photo op will cost tax payer 11 million dollars.

What’s it all about Alfie?
Posted on January 23, 2013 by Ian
From the Times of India fake Bollywood awards website:

“BC State dignitaries will be duly honoured on the stage”.

Do you need to know any more than that? You paid $11 million for it.

***

Global TV and most other media outlets referred to the taxpayer funded extravaganza announced yesterday as “the awards show, thought of as the Bollywood Oscars.”


Clark courted and was rejected by the real “Bollywood Oscars”. So she bought the fake ones for $11 million

That’s a straight out lie. The well known (hosted in Ontario last year) and long lived International Indian Film Academy awards are known as the “Bollywood Oscars”. The show BC is hosting is a new invention of the Times of India Corporation. This year’s April event is the first ever and the corporation has had no experience putting on an international Film award show.

In other words BC paid $11 million for something with no track record in order for cabinet ministers to be “duly honoured” on stage. I’d love to see the business plan for this one.

BC’s media, as per usual, fell drooling over itself to cover this bit of politics yesterday. Most missed significant coverage of the demonstration by over 4,000 film industry members in North Van last night, a demonstration where Adrian Dix gave a well-received and spot on speech about cultural industries and the miserable BC Liberal cultural record.

P.S. The $11 million for the show will come out of this year’s budget despite it being held in the period funded by next year’s budget. The Oscar for creative accounting goes to….
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby maple leaf » Jan 28th, 2013, 4:38 pm

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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 28th, 2013, 4:47 pm

Good Lord! All this and a SALARY too???

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MLAs' expense allowance lets almost one-in-four buy second homes in the capital

MLAs’ living expense benefits are likely too rich when 18 of them have been able to buy second homes in the capital.
It’s reasonable to cover living costs for MLAs from outside the capital region when they’re here on business.

But when almost 25 per cent of eligible MLAs use the expense allowance to help buy second homes in one of the province’s most expensive markets, the payments deserve a tough look. (The information is from disclosure statements. A few have half-interests in the properties.)

MLAs’ decision to give themselves big pay raises and lavish pension plans in 2007 attracted much attention. (Rightly, of course. About 75 per cent of working British Columbians have no pension plan, but pay higher taxes so MLAs can have a gold-plated plan. The average pay for B.C. MLAs is now $118,000, more than the income of 96 per cent of tax filers in the province.)

But MLAs also voted for big changes in their benefits.

MLAs had been eligible for an allowance when they had to be in the capital on business. The amount - $150 per day - was judged enough to cover meals and a hotel room. Some members - mostly cabinet ministers - were in Victoria enough that the per diem allowed them to rent a place, or in a handful of cases buy a residence.

In 2007, MLAs decided they needed more.

The new deal gives them $61 a day for meals, no receipts required.

And it provides generous housing allowances. MLAs can rent, and claim up to $19,000 a year in expenses with receipts. Or they can claim $12,000 a year and not have to provide any receipts.

And they can also claim taxpayers’ funds to support the purchase of a second home in the capital, based on the same approach. With receipts, they can get up to $19,000 a year for “property taxes, strata fees, if any, insurance, basic telephone and Internet service, parking and furniture rental.”

Or they can just claim $12,000 a year with no receipts. (It’s notable that MLAs believe they need up to $19,000 for a second home, but single parent with two children on disability assistances is allowed less than $8,000. Their children must not need housing up to MLA standards.)

The new rates are a good deal for MLAs from outside the capital region, or they wouldn’t be buying the condos and houses.

But is it a good deal for taxpayers, especially when the legislature sits so rarely? The legislature has been sitting about 47 days a year. Committee work and other meetings could bring an MLA to Victoria for another 30 days a year. Under the old system, he or she would get about $7,700 for accommodation. Enough for a nice hotel or long-term rental.

Under the new system, taxpayers pay at least $12,000, maybe more - a 56 per cent increase. (The extra costs might be less for MLAs or ministers who are here more often.)

Part of the problem in assessing the benefits is that MLAs continue to cloak their spending in secrecy, despite repeated promises to provide a proper breakdown. It’s impossible to tell what they’re doing with the housing allowance - or even whether the rules are being followed.

The whole plan was presented and approved without any rationale, justification or assessment of the increased costs to taxpayers.

The government picked three panelists to examine pay, pension and benefits - two senior lawyers and a business professor. Their average income was well over $200,000. Their perspective on compensation would inevitably be skewed by their own experiences. Unlike past compensation committees, there was no one earning the average B.C. wage of abut $40,000. No one, as the BC Liberals used to proclaim in the old days, “Thinking like a taxpayer.

There are better approaches. For more than two decades, Washington state has used a 16-person salary commission to deal with pay for elected officials. One member is selected at random from the voters' list in each of nine geographical areas. The politicians appoint five members - one each from universities, business, personnel management, the law and organized labour. The state's HR department and universities get to name one person each.

I don’t know if the allowances are reasonable, or fair. But when so many MLAs are able to buy second homes, they deserve a close look.
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby NAB » Jan 29th, 2013, 7:26 am

Les Leyne: Liberal comeback slips off course

Les Leyne / Times Colonist
January 26, 2013


Somewhere at B.C. Liberal party headquarters there’s a recovery plan that charts a 15-point comeback in the polls en route to a victory in the May election.

You have to wonder if the master plan makes room for the kind of week that just ended.

Monday — Boundary-Similkameen Liberal MLA John Slater brought a troubled, confused story to an end with news he won’t run again, either as an independent or a Liberal.

The party had earlier referenced personal problems in the rocky relationship that had developed.

So Slater bowed out with a blast at “smear and fear-based politics,” and the “brutal” experience that prompted him to say “enough.”

The only plus for the Liberals in this is that, oddly enough, the NDP candidate dropped out the same day.

Tuesday — NDP leader Adrian Dix unveiled a plan that would ban the kind of self-promoting saturation ad campaign that the Liberal government has been running for months at taxpayer expense.

It’s a good idea in itself. And the plan keeps some focus on the outlandish cost and prevalence of the campaign.

Also Tuesday, Surrey’s rejection of a casino favoured by the minister responsible for gambling, Rich Coleman, prompted intriguing fallout.

Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg publicly rapped his colleague for intervening during the public hearings and complaining about the decision. “Surprised and disappointed,” he told the Peace Arch News. He’s not the only person surprised. Coleman is a powerhouse in Premier Christy Clark’s government and not one whom colleagues would take on lightly.

There was a time when the Liberals hung together.

Clark also announced an $11-million commitment to an Indian media conglomerate that will stage a televised Bollywood awards ceremony in Vancouver this spring. The idea is to promote B.C. as a destination to the Indian middle class.

Based on government numbers, the show will have to pull 7,000 Indian tourists for this to pay off.

Wednesday — Trouble broke out in another Liberal-held riding. The fracturing of friendships and long-term relationships became obvious in Abbotsford. Longtime Liberal supporter Moe Gill, whose plans to run were quashed when the party hand-picked criminologist Darryl Plecas, announced he’ll run independently.

He’ll go up against cabinet minister Mike de Jong — his distinctly “former” friend — in Abbotsford South. He made the announcement citing the “great disrespect” with which he was treated by the party.

It’s the team-building that gets you.

Meanwhile, the Liberals formally abandoned the clumsy campaign to oust auditor general John Doyle, offering him a two-year extension. It was greeted with ominous silence.

Thursday — Doyle slept on the offer, then responded. He not only rejected it, he eviscerated the Liberals who made it. He said the re-appointment process is “Mickey Mouse.” He said the Liberal MLAs in charge of it don’t know what they’re doing. And he said the MLA in charge — Eric Foster — should be removed because of unspecified remarks he made during an interview that suggested bias. He suggested the next government should make the decision, and he plans to take his own sweet time examining his options.

One thing that’s become clear over the years is that when governments take on independent special officers of the legislature, it doesn’t usually end well.

Clark’s ambitious plan for a 10-year deal with teachers was also floated Thursday. The teachers’ union dismissed it completely, as expected. Demonstrating how obstinate the B.C. Teachers Federation is might have been part of the roll-out plan. But it was odd to see an idea that has some merit driven right into a wall that everyone could see was there.

Friday — A quiet day. Not much to do but ponder an outfit in which a departing MLA decries his own team’s smears, another MLA raps a cabinet minister for meddling, a key organizer turns independent to run against his former friend and the premier finds $11 million to throw a party for an industry based 11,000 kilometres away.

It wasn’t all bad news. They’ve found a way to stop the new Port Mann bridge from dropping ice bombs on toll-paying drivers. And they found $113 million to move Emily Carr University off Granville Island.

But with under three months until campaign kickoff, it wasn’t a week in which the Liberals used the word “momentum.”
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby NAB » Jan 29th, 2013, 8:37 am

POLITICS: With awards show, B.C. Premier Christy Clark hoping for Bollywood ending come election time

MICHAEL SMYTH
VANCOUVER DESI


British Columbia Premier Christy Clark holds up a Times of India Film Awards trophy during a press conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday January 22, 2013, announcing the event will be held in the city in April. Darryl Dyck/CP

The original idea to bring a Bollywood film extravaganza to Vancouver likely occurred to Premier Christy Clark in June 2011, when she was in Toronto for a speech.

Clark stayed at the ritzy Royal York Hotel — the same hotel where a number of Bollywood movie stars were embedded for the International Indian Film Academy Awards event.

The hotel was crawling with Indian film stars, producers, media and various hangers-on. Limos lined the curb outside, where fans and paparazzi clamoured for a glimpse of the Bollywood glitterati.

Clark was intrigued to learn the event was bankrolled to the tune of $12 million by the Ontario government, then in pre-election mode.

I’m certain Clark became even more intrigued after Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals managed to defy the pundits and pollsters and win re-election in Ontario that fall.

The moral of the story: If you think the Bollywood film awards now winging their way to Vancouver are all about cultural exchange and tourism marketing, then I’ve got a bridge in Mumbai I’d like to sell you.

This is about politics.

During that Toronto trip, Clark got a first-hand look at the excitement generated by the Bollywood movie industry within the politically dynamic Indo-Canadian community.

McGuinty and his cabinet ministers played starring roles at the various galas and events surrounding the Toronto festival. Now watch for Clark and her B.C. Liberals to soak up the limelight here, too.

The Indo-Canadian vote will be crucial in the May election in several closely contested ridings, especially in Surrey, where Clark’s Liberals will be in tooth-and-nail battles with the NDP.

The Indo-Canadian vote is also important in several Fraser Valley ridings, where the Liberals now are in unexpected trouble.

So bring on the Bollywood star power.

“A lot of callers to my show are saying it’s nothing but a political gimmick,” talk-show host Gurpreet Singh, of Surrey-based Radio India, told me Wednesday.

“I don’t think it will mean much for decided voters. But people love Bollywood stars. When they see Christy Clark with these stars, maybe it will make a difference with some undecideds.”

The event, which will cost B.C. taxpayers $11 million, is clearly designed to extract the most positive political impact in the community at the most opportune time: Three days of hype and hoopla, just a month before the election.

Unfortunately for Clark, it comes at the same time British Columbia’s own domestic film industry is taking a beating and pleading with the government for help. Thousands of industry workers rallied in support of their cause Tuesday night in North Vancouver.

But Clark — a master of political mistiming — has rejected the local industry’s requests for juicier tax credits, creating the impression she’s lavishing money on foreign filmmakers while our own domestic sector gets the shaft.

NDP leader Adrian Dix seized on the contradiction Wednesday and jetted off to L.A. for two days of meetings with film executives, while accusing the Liberals of abandoning the B.C. industry.

I have a feeling Clark may have to climb down — again — and sweeten the pot for the B.C. film sector. In the meantime, the Bollywood show must go on, as Clark soaks up every star-powered photo-op, and vote, she can find.


http://www.vancouverdesi.com/featured-s ... me/478044/
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 29th, 2013, 10:14 am

More from Mike S:

POLITICAL POSTURING: Clark’s Liberals teamed up with Times of India Film Awards in time for spring election
MICHAEL SMYTH
VANCOUVER DESI

A hint of the Bollywood-style entertainment to come was featured at the announcement Jan. 22, 2013, of the Times of India Film Awards, to be held in April in Vancouver, B.C. Nick Procaylo/PNG

When Christy Clark went shopping for a Bollywood film extravaganza, the first glittering bauble that caught her eye was the IIFA Awards, touted by some as the “Oscars of India.”

The International Indian Film Academy negotiated with the government to bring their 2013 awards gala to Vancouver, but the deal never got done.

Why? According to an IIFA official, the government wanted to move up the date of the awards from June to April.

“The reason was very obvious to everybody,” IIFA spokesman Sabbas Joseph told me Monday from Mumbai.
“We were well aware of the political situation in B.C.”


In other words, he said, Clark’s governing Liberals wanted to stage the awards right before the May election.

“That was a key condition for them,” Sabbas said. “We explained the IIFA Awards are always held in June or July, and we couldn’t change that.

“They weren’t happy at all.”

Instead, the government announced last week Vancouver will host the newly created Times of India Film Awards from April 4 to 6 – just a few days before the official start of the election campaign.

The cost to taxpayers? $11 million – at a time when B.C.’s domestic film industry is in the tank and begging for help.

With the Indo-Canadian vote bound to be crucial in several swing ridings in the May 14 election, it seems clear the governing Liberals are using this event for political gain.

With the election looming, Clark and her cabinet ministers will be swanning around for photo-ops with Indian film stars. I’m told the government and the Liberal party have already been swamped with ticket requests.

But Pat Bell, the cabinet minister responsible, insists the government rejected the IIFA awards because the Times of India awards was a better financial deal for taxpayers.

“The breaking point was money,” Bell said Monday. “The timing of the event did not a play a role.”

Bell told me he received regular briefings from his staff during the negotiations with the IIFA. So I asked him if the government insisted on staging the awards before the election.

“There was discussion about a wide variety of dates,” he answered.

But did the government request a pre-election date? And did the IIFA say no?

“I wasn’t part of the direct negotiations, so I can’t comment on that,” Bell replied.

Not good enough for NDP critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.

“The Liberals got caught,” he said.

“When they couldn’t get the more prestigious IIFA awards right before the election, they invented a whole new Bollywood awards show for $11 million of taxpayers’ money.”


But Bell said the Times of India approached the government with the idea. And he said $11 million is a bargain compared to what the IIFA wanted for their awards.

So how much money did the government offer to the IIFA, and how much did IIFA demand?

“It wouldn’t be inappropriate to disclose that,” Bell said.

Joseph, the IIFA official, said the government offered “substantially less” than what it’s now paying to the Times of India. He suggested the government may have deliberately low-balled the offer after the IIFA refused to budge on the date.

“We didn’t want to be part of a political story in British Columbia,” Joseph said.


But a political story it has become – and an expensive one at that for B.C. taxpayers.

Tags: B.C., election, Liberals, Times of India Film Awards
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby NAB » Jan 29th, 2013, 2:46 pm

"Movie jobs plummet as Hollywood shuns Hollywood North"

""Crawford Hawkins is executive director of the Directors Guild of Canada, B.C. District Council.

He said just 100 of the union's 800 members are currently working and added that B.C.'s uncompetitive film incentives are killing local jobs and driving down wages for B.C.'s directors, assistant directors and production managers.

Hawkins added that while the industry's fortunes have worsened over the past six months, they've been declining for some time.""

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/m ... th-1.59142
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby flamingfingers » Jan 29th, 2013, 3:36 pm

Guess a phoney awards photo op is a higher priority to Christy than "The Jobs Plan." (whatever that means!)
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby cutypi » Jan 29th, 2013, 4:09 pm

Tuesday — NDP leader Adrian Dix unveiled a plan that would ban the kind of self-promoting saturation ad campaign that the Liberal government has been running for months at taxpayer expense.

Hummmm Maybe I will vote NDP if an independent doesn't run. I like where he is going with this.
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Re: Liberal Party.

Postby Urbane » Jan 29th, 2013, 4:12 pm

I'm bemused by the fact that the HST was a terrible tax because it supposedly gave too big a break to business and now we have some of the same people who opposed the HST complaining that the government isn't giving the film industry enough tax breaks. Just an observation. Keeping the HST would have been much better for the film industry.
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