Four Delta non-profit organizations are calling on the provincial government to repeal its proposed payroll tax.
The Delta Hospital Foundation, the Delta Hospice Society, the Delta Gymnastics Society and the British Columbia Guide Dog Services sent a letter to finance minister Carole James asking the government to reconsider making the payroll tax a requirement for non-profits.
“We are not large corporations,” the letter reads. “We are community oriented groups united by our love for Delta and our desire to make our community a better place.”
“Rather than raising our taxes, government should be trying to make life easier for local non-profits. We are pleading with the government to exempt non-profit organizations from the Employer Heath Tax.”
In February of this year, the B.C. government announced it would implement a payroll tax on larger businesses to regain some of the revenue lost when it phases out the Medical Services Plan.
This payroll tax, called the “employer health tax,” is scheduled to take effect in January 2019, and would apply to businesses with an annual payroll of more than $500,000. The amount of tax businesses pay would increase in proportion to their payroll.
According to James, the tax is similar to what other provinces have implemented, and will help pay for the $1.5 billion increase in health care spending over the next three years.
In a video with Delta South MLA Ian Paton, Delta Gymnastics Society executive director Ana Arciniega said the organization wouldn’t be able to pay the additional $25,419 in expected payroll taxes.
“We’re at the top threshold level that’s being proposed” for the tax, Arciniega explained in a video with Delta South MLA Ian Paton. The society employs about 33 part-time and 17 full-time staff, and spends about $1.4 million of its $1.5 million budget on payroll.
“We don’t know where to get that money,” she continued. “It would either have to be passed on to our families, which we absolutely don’t want to do, or maybe we would not be able to hire as many employees.”
In a press release issued by the B.C. Liberal Caucus on April 4, Paton expressed his support for the organizations’ request.
“My colleagues and I have raised numerous examples like this in the Legislature, but the NDP simply aren’t listening,” he said in the release. “I hope this letter will finally get through to them, so that these groups and the families they serve won’t suffer from this punishing tax.”
-with files from Tom Fletcher