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VICTORIA — British Columbia families will have one less reason to celebrate the New Year as the B.C. Liberals continue to slam families with higher fees.

“The Liberals are ringing in the New Year by hiking fees on families,” said New Democrat finance critic, Bruce Ralston. “Their New Year's MSP increase will have families paying 80 per cent more than they did before the Liberals took office.”

Ralston noted that medical services premiums are particularly unfair for middle class families because whether someone makes just over $30,000 a year or more than $300,000 a year, they pay the same premium.

“The worst part of the MSP increases under the Liberals is that they hammer middle income families the hardest, and the revenue they bring in is being used to finance tax breaks for financial institutions and big corporations, rather than actually being invested in healthcare,” said Ralston. “Last year MSP went up, while corporate taxes went down. Like the HST, it’s nothing more than a tax shift from businesses onto families.”

“We’ve seen MSP go up. We've seen hydro rates go up. We've seen long-term-care fees go up. The HST referendum result showed that families are tired of financing special breaks for Liberal friends and insiders,” said Ralston.

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats say it is time for the Liberals to stop treating middle income earners like a bank machine, pointing to other previous and planned fee increases under the Liberal government including:

  • HST: British Columbians voted down this $1.9 billion tax shift from business to consumers; however, families continue to pay more while the Liberals drag their feet on getting rid of the HST.
  • Long-Term Residential Care Rates: Maximum rates increased in 2003, 2010 and 2011 by 93 per cent total or as much as $13,500. Low-income seniors are now expected to pay up to 80 per cent of their income towards residential care.
  • Post-Secondary Education: Tuition fees have doubled on average, leaving students to pay up to $2,300 per year more for undergrad tuition.
  • B.C. Hydro: The average family is paying an extra $180 more on their hydro bill than they were before the Liberals took over, and rates will be increasing by a further 17 per cent over the next three years.
  • Ferry Fares: Between 2012 and 2015 fares are set to increase by 18 per cent on major routes and 37 per cent on smaller routes, after years of skyrocketing rates.

“Perhaps the Liberals should make a New Year's resolution to stop ruining holidays with fee hikes,” said Ralston.