EDITORIAL: Always an expensive start to the new year

Life is expensive and, if you ever needed a reminder of that fact, just wait until the new year, when all manner of tax and fee increases are tabulated by media outlets — at about the same time Christmas shopping credit card bills are arriving.

Foremost on that list of increasing costs is the property tax you pay on your home. Based on the latest numbers from the BC Assessment Authority, coupled with a preliminary 3.4 per cent tax hike, it appears many people will be forking over more money to city hall to keep the Tournament Capital running.

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(An increased assessment does not necessarily mean an automatic rise in tax rate. If, as noted, the average increase this year is eight per cent, then property owners above that mark will pay more than the average and those under the figure will pay less.)

But your castle is by no means the only place you will get hit this year.

You will pay more to drive (ICBC wants a 6.3 per cent hike as of April 1, which means another $60 out of your pocket), more to heat your home (courtesy FortisBC’s nine per cent increase) and more to simply live (get ready for another increase in the carbon tax, which is no longer revenue-neutral).

On the business side of the ledger, the B.C. NDP’s double tax begins this year, with MSP tax being charged alongside the new employer health tax, a double whammy that will hurt businesses with payrolls above $500,000. This includes city hall and the school district.

Existing and expanded services must be funded, which is why the cost of living generally travels in an upward arc.

But the problem is not everyone in the private sector enjoys automatic pay increases and generous benefits afforded much of the public sector.

And when the added costs become a bit too much to bear, purses are tightened, spending slows and the economy takes a hit.

Spending some time doing what you love with those you love may be all you can afford in 2019.

Happy new year.

© Kamloops This Week

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