New study shows British Columbians support tax increases for corporations, high income earners

Most also willing to pay higher taxes to support policies that improve quality of life

A new research study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows the public is ahead of political leaders when it comes to tax policy. It finds most British Columbians,regardless of how they would vote in a provincial election, favour changes to B.C.’s tax system that would support new or enhanced public services and ensure everyone pays a fair share. Among the key findings reported in Beyond the 1%: What British Columbians think about taxes, inequality and public services, British Columbians support tax increases for major corporations and people with high incomes.

– 67% of respondents think major corporations are asked to pay less tax than they should, and 44% say much less than they should.

– 78% of respondents say people in the top 20% of incomes are asked to pay less tax than they should, and 63% say much less than they should.

– 57% said those making $100,000 and over should pay more, and nearly a third believed the threshold for tax increases should be $85,000.

Although 71 per cent believe they pay too much tax, 68 per cent of those said they are willing to pay a higher share of their own income in order to support such policy initiatives as: more access to home and community care for seniors; a $10 per day child care program, protections for B.C. forests and endangered species and the elimination of MSP premiums.

The study also found that younger generations (respondents aged 18-29 and 30-44) are significantly more likely to be willing to pay more taxes than their older counterparts.

"We’ve had this idea that tax increases are a no-go zone in BC,” says Shannon Daub, Director of Communication with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office, who led the study. “But public opinion is shifting, and if anything our political leaders are behind the curve. Not only do most British Columbians want to see tax increases at the higher end of the income ladder, they are prepared to pitch in themselves — if they know the money will support concrete changes, and if we do tax policy in a transparent way.”

“Taxes can be a contentious issue, as we well know in BC,” says Randy Galawan, who co-led the study. “But our research shows that we’re ready for a thoughtful, democratic conversation about how to make the tax system more fair and improve our quality of life.”

Beyond the 1%: What British Columbians think about taxes, inequality and public services reports results from an extensive online survey of 1,023 BC residents, conducted in July 2012 by Environics Research, and nine group interviews conducted in Metro Vancouver, Nanaimo and Kamloops.

The full results are available on line at www.policyalternatives.ca.