Fact Check: Kevin Falcon’s carbon tax was not “revenue neutral”

Kevin Falcon has frequently claimed that under the BC Liberals, the carbon tax was “revenue neutral” and that “when we brought in the carbon tax, by law, every penny had to go to reducing your personal income taxes and small business taxes.”

This is false.

In fact, the main beneficiaries in Falcon’s own 2012-13 budget were large corporations, who received a tax break worth $450 million that year. Over nine years, Falcon and the BC Liberals gave corporations $2.2 billion to support their “revenue neutral” claim.

They also used misleading accounting by claiming that pre-existing tax measures were offsetting carbon tax revenue. As Finance Minister, Falcon began counting the Film Incentive BC Tax Credit, which had existed since 1998.

Even organizations friendly to the BC Liberals rejected Falcon’s revenue neutral claim.

Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation said in 2012 that “it’s ridiculous for an average taxpayer to be told it’s revenue neutral when they are forced to pay the ever-increasing carbon tax but have no ability to access the corresponding tax breaks.”

The Fraser Institute wrote that “BC’s carbon tax is often misperceived and misrepresented as being revenue neutral… the carbon tax is currently not revenue neutral.”

The BC NDP government cancelled Falcon’s corporate tax breaks and invested that money into affordability measures for people including the child opportunity benefit, lowering childcare fees, and eliminating bridge tolls.