Letters to the Editor

Resource values jump while taxation falls in B.C.

Editor: This is an open letter to British Columbia’s MLAs:

As British Columbians, we are some of the most fortunate people in the world.  We share the riches of abundant natural resources and the public services, which derive from the taxes we pay.  We also expect that the private corporations that extract these public resources should pay a fair share of the value of those resources in the taxes they pay.

However, a comparison of the value of the resources extracted in 2001 with those extracted in 2012 and the related tax revenues exposes an alarming trend that we should be very concerned about.

In 2001, the value of coal production was $959 million. By 2012 it had grown to $5.06 billion — an increase of 527 per cent.

The value of metals production in 2001 was $1.394 billion. In 2012, it was $2.453 billion — an increase of 76 per cent.

The value of industrial minerals in 2001 was $296 million. That had increased to $472 million in 2012, a 60 per cent increase.

This represents a huge increase in corporate revenue over the last 10 years or so.  In comparison, if we look at the total B.C. natural resource tax revenue in 2001, we see that it was about $4.2 billion.  In 2013, that figure had declined to about $2.5 billion. Provincial tax revenue from public resources has declined from about 35 per cent to 15 per cent, a stark contrast to the huge gains made by private, resource-based corporate interests.

Can you help us understand this apparent anomaly?

Ray Blessin,

Kamloops

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