BC Liberals conflicted badly
I've been monitoring the reaction of folks in social media regarding the NDP'S first full budget since 2000. Most of the comments so far have been very positive. Some have raised a few technical questions, but overall be sense is that the budget is well received.
Except if you're a BC Liberal. Naturally.
Above all other predictable comments, the notion of a payroll tax of 1.9% on payrolls above $500,000 to replace the MSP premiums isn't being received well. By some.
Taken at face value, the criticism has merits. But the policy is good for a number of reasons.
MSP was a tax. Used by government to raise funds for general purposes. True, so is the payroll tax, but to free working folks of this fee they had to pay up front should at least count as a tax cut.
Exempting small and micro business with payrolls less than $500k means they've not going to be hit with this new fee.
My suggestion would be to index the $500k so that businesses under the threshold could give raises and grow without fear of the levy.
Sure enough, one anonymous pro-BC Liberal troll who countered my idea with a simple layoff of enough workers to stay under the threshold.
That simplistic, knee-jerk reaction reminded me of the early days of the previous BC Liberal government. The issue of the day? The so called "training wage".
One of the signature pieces of legislation of the day was to allow for a minimum wage that was $2/h less than the legal minimum wage if the employee had not worked 500 hours in total.
The idea was that once you had workplace experience, you'd get the full wage. It was also a one time qualifier. It wasn't meant that you had to satisfy 500hrs at *each* job before getting the slightly higher wage.
To nobody's surprise, that's exactly what was done. Some in my family who were in that 'first job' era in their life had to satisfy that 500hrs before obtaining the full wage. Shockingly, that family member was laid off just shy of 500hrs.
Even more shockingly, it happened again, and again.
We knew what everyone else was saying, the training wage was a favour to an industry that had given very generously to the BC Liberals.
A loophole was created that allowed certain employers to avoid paying a proper wage.
To be fair, this wasn't widespread, and once the scandal made the headlines, the government removed it. Caught, it seems.
Fast forward to today. Literally this day. The discussion around a payroll tax to replace an unfair MSP premium system flips to 'how can I avoid paying wages/taxes' or 'how can I punish my workers'.
Because if that's the backbone philosophy of those in the BC Liberal Party, then good riddance. May you never see the inside of power again. Politicians who hate workers should be disqualified from office.
My 2 bits