OUR VIEW: Hands out for more

It’s a new year, and that means all levels of government have their hands in our pockets a little more deeply than in 2012.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation sent out a press release outlining just how much additional pocket picking is coming our way in 2013. The list is substantial.

The most substantial, and perhaps the most unfair, is the boost in Medical Services Plan premiums. These premiums increased $60 per family this year, and have now risen 24 per cent ($300 per family) in three years – far more than the rate of inflation.

This boost in MSP fees was first brought in by the provincial government to help deal with its deficit, and it appears this premium will keep rising until enough members of the public start to pay full attention to just how much it is costing them.

The federal government doesn’t get off scot-free. As of Jan. 1, premiums for employment insurance are up, and so are contributions to the Canada Pension Plan.

While contributors will get their CPP contributions back eventually if they retire and collect CPP, the same cannot be said for EI. A small portion of the population collects it, but all working people and their employers pay for the program.

In the meantime, B.C. Hydro is raising rates by almost four per cent on April 1.

One thing is certain – governments have an insatiable appetite for our money.

While much of the money they take goes to useful services, there is plenty of room for better management and for minimal tax increases.

– Black Press

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