Tuesday, July 07, 2009

BC Liberal gas tax still hated - 65% oppose recent hike in price

Taxed and loathing

Carbon tax increase strongly opposed, 24 hours poll shows

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column

View full Tyee article and comments

By Bill Tieleman

Even Genghis Khan learned to be peaceful. . . . when he saw how much more rewarding it was to tax peasants than to kill them.

- Professor Monica Prasad

British Columbians strongly oppose the 50% increase in the B.C. Liberals’ carbon tax imposed July 1, new polling conducted exclusively for 24 hours newpaper shows.

Polling by Strategic Communications shows that 65% of those surveyed disagree with the 1.17 cent per litre carbon tax increase on gas and 1.35 cents on heating fuel.

And a full 47% “strongly oppose” the carbon tax increase, while only 30% of those polled support the gas tax hike and just 11% “strongly support” it. Another 5% don’t oppose or support it.

The new carbon tax rate is 3.51 cents per litre on gas and 4.04 cents per litre on heating fuel. It continues rising annually until it hits 7 cents per litre on gas and 8 cents on heating fuel in 2012.

Strategic Communications President Bob Penner says that despite the recent re-election of Premier Gordon Campbell, who introduced North America’s only carbon tax, it is still strongly opposed.

“It’s obvious nobody likes paying a tax increase, but it’s pretty clear from this poll, and previous ones that we and others have done, that regardless of the substance of the issue, the Liberals have so far completely failed to sell this carbon tax,” Penner says.

The poll of 1,000 British Columbians conducted online from June 22 to 29 shows an interesting urban-rural split, with 48% of Vancouver residents supporting the tax and 41% opposed – the only place where the tax increase is slightly favoured.

Online poll, small regional samples

In the rest of Metro Vancouver the gas tax increase is opposed by 65%, with 45% strongly opposed; on Vancouver Island 66% opposed; in the interior 72% opposed; and in the north 84% were against it, with 72% strongly opposed. One caution - regional breakdowns are based on much smaller samples.

Every age group of British Columbians surveyed opposed the gas tax hike, from 50% of younger people opposed and 35% supportive to 50 to 64 year olds being 71% against it and 25% in favour. And interestingly, women are more opposed than men – by 66% to 63%.

Strongest tax support from the wealthiest

Also worth noting is that the strongest support for the carbon tax comes from the wealthiest British Columbians. Those with an income over $100,000 support the carbon tax increase by a margin of 44% to the 51% who are opposed.

For lower income earners it’s another story. 61% of those making less than $30,000 oppose the gas tax jump versus 29% who agree, while those with income between $30,000 and $70,000 oppose it by a margin of 65% to 33%.

The strongest opposition comes from those with incomes between $70,000 and $100,000, with 72% against and just 25% in favour.

'Axe the Tax' vindicated

The polling clearly shows that some environmentalists and others who argue imposing the carbon tax was a political winner for the B.C. Liberals and opposing it a mistake for the B.C. New Democrats are wrong.

The Strategic Communications poll also indicates that a much smaller poll of 250 British Columbians in mid-June by Environics Research that claimed “public support rises for B.C. carbon tax” is likely incorrect in its conclusions.

That poll – released at a conference titled “Decoding Carbon Pricing” that was hosted by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and Sustainable Prosperity – had 48% in favour of the gas tax and 47% against.

Environics Research also released a poll in July 2008 that showed only 40% support for the carbon tax and 56% opposition just after it was first implemented.
As argued here, the B.C. Liberals won in spite of the tax, not because of it.

If like me you oppose this unfair and ineffective tax, join my online Facebook protest group with over 9,000 members - Axe The BC Gas Tax.



Anonymous said...

Hey when you make mega bucks and have raises higher than the 'average' Canadian makes in a whole year why would you care about the gas tax going up? After all your $100,000 car doesn't even register in pennies per litre.

Anonymous said...

Lucky us in the litle town of Victoria where there is absolutly no competition in fuel costs so the stations majically raise the prices to the same amount. Presently 108.9 per litre or for the folks who still think in gallons, around $4.90 per. The taxes will go up to support Gord's favourite visions, especially the big circus. BC, the best place on earth if you are in the right wage bracket. Hope of the BMw's and Jags

Gary E said...

This ripoff of the average person in BC wouldn't be so bad if the corporations were paying the same and the money was actually revenue neutral. Wouldn't hurt for some laws to be passed preventing corporate pollution either. Just musing.

Angela said...

If so many people are opposed to the tax, why do all the parties now support the tax (or in the case of No Defined Position party, willing to make the best of a lost battle)? Why didn't all these people vote NDP when they were the only ones opposed to the tax? Oh yeah, it's really not that big an issue. So why is this "dead issue" still being harped on? Wow, Bill you really are desperate for material. This no summer election thing must be horrible. Back to BC Railgate I guess, it's something you can count on to go on forever.

By the way, I love that quote from Bob Penner about "the Liberals have so far completely failed to sell this carbon tax". Well of course not. They don't need to, they're an arrogant dictatorship that feels they can ram whatever they like down our throat. And not only are they right, we keep giving them the green light to do so. So all of you whiners that are so upset that you're going to... just really going to... protest on facebook?!?? I think I hear the Liberals laughing now.

You really want to protest? Stop paying the tax, stop buying gasoline, stop driving your car and take public tran...oh wait, that's what the carbon tax is all about, an incentive to change our habits when feasible. So then protest would end up being supportive. Okay, go ahead with your facebook protest, it will be just as ineffective as the tax itself though. Yep, I agree with you there Bill. The carbon tax is ineffective because it's nowhere near large enough yet.

And I also agree with Carole James, it's here to stay, accept it and now let's work on a co-operative effort with our Messianic Dictator. Perhaps if we appease him, he will kindly rework the legislation so that it treats rural areas more fairly. This could be Carole's final hurrah, gaining enough support for the carbon tax from the north to ensure the NDP has no chance again in 2013. With her and Campbell working both sides of the street, who needs a second political party like the Greens. You want to protest against the Liberals, that's where the focus should be.

Anonymous said...

up here beyond hope I live bout 10 miles from the refinery our gas is 109.1 the carbon tax seems to be a bit nasty when the temps drop to minus 30 and to stay warm you are taxed...
i thought the carbon tax should be applied to the lower mainland only where transportation options exist they certainly dont where i am
I hate that damn tax at least evaluate the already existing taxes we pay on fuels before slapping on a new one

Carbon Tax Supporter said...

Angela, you are a rare voice of reason here, so I don't expect you to last very long in Tieleman's comments section. Any second now, you can expect G West to cut and paste his "This is not a carbon tax" yawner.

And your reference to "arrogant dictatorship" - you can thank Bill for this one, too. FPTP electoral systems breed dictatorships (both left and right and centre) and allow exclusive executive power to be concentrated in the premier's office. Bill spent all his election campaign time seeing that this corrupt voting system is entrenched forever by campaigning for NO-STV. He has spent much of the rest of his time opposing the carbon tax, and coming up with self-serving vindications about how 'right' he is on the issue!

Yep, Liberals will be laughing all the way to 2013.

Bill Tieleman said...

Carbon Tax Supporter - first of all, if you read this blog regularly you would know that I allow all comments save those that are defamatory or obscene - Angela can say what she wants outside of those two conditions.

And although trashing your genial host is permitted, gratuitous and insulting comments with no merit might not make the blog.

I find it amusing that you still can't accept that STV was firmly, soundly, convincingly defeated - and even more so that you think a different electoral system would remove executive power from the premier's office.

If anything, the premier and his political staff would have been even more empowered by STV - because on top of everything else they would be dealmaking in the backroom constantly with other parties and internally within their own party - whomever was in power.

Don't take my word - which you wouldn't anyway - go read up on Ireland and its wholesome politics.

As to self-serving vindications - the facts speak for themselves - neither STV nor the carbon tax have majority support in BC - live with it!

Carbon Tax Supporter said...

Dearest Tieleman,

I was not suggesting to Angela that her voice of reason would get her censored or booted off. You've proven to be a fan of free expression, no argument there. I was suggesting, with cynical tongue in cheek, that a Tieleman Blog contrarian like Angela would not be around much longer because her interest would quickly flat-line.

Further, sir, I can assure you that all of my gratuitous and insulting comments always have merit, and you'll just have to take my word on that.

Regarding your amusement that people like me still can't accept STV's defeat. Now now, the debate doesn't end just because Bill Tieleman says so.. Speaking only for myself, I fully, completely accept that STV was defeated, soundly and definitively. I further admit that my team ran a lame-duck campaign. However, it doesn't therefore follow that a post-game analysis, even some re-analysis is a completely useless exercise. If nothing else, it's highly cathartic, a fleshing out of ideas in assessing what went wrong. And we don't need you to tell us your version ad nauseum of what went wrong.

By the way, it's with my own amusement, of an ironic variety, that I see you doing exactly the same exercise with the carbon tax? An election deemed the question resolved, and your preferred leader (Carole James) in the wake of that election says it's a done deal, time to move on. Yet, you can't accept that defeat. So you press on with your polls, your Facebooks, your spin and your selective reasoning.

I'll make you a deal. I'll stop pining over the STV failure if you stop offering yourself empty congratulations on how you almost stopped the dreaded carbon tax, or why yours was the moral highground. Deal? What's the point, when I am debating with someone who equates coalition government deal-making among parties with the kind of power consolidation that allowed for Railgate, Bingogate, Fudge-it Budget and Campbell's own horrific version that is unfolding as I type.

So yes, to return to the article at hand, the carbon tax is here to stay - live with it!

Anonymous said...

Carbon Tax Supporter:

Sorry, anyone who includes this kind of solipsistic nonsense in a comment is asking NOT to be taken seriously.

...I can assure you that all of my gratuitous and insulting comments always have merit...

Many of us disagree. Just as we do with the Campbell Tax and its utter uselessness as a device to address AGW.

Please, try again.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Tieleman fairly vehemently on most all of the leftist pro-NDP nonsense he peddles on an ongoing basis. That said; I did agree with him strongly in his opposition of the STV vote and believe he did a good; no make that a great job opposing the YES STV group.

My only two serious complaints and or suggestions about Tieleman is his “I am always right” ego arrogance needs to be toned down and if he could actually make a more concerted effort to be more non partisan his credibility outside of leftist circles would increase greatly.

Basically Tieleman’s ego is his biggest obstacle; if he could get over himself I think he would find he would be taken far more seriously outside of the Leftoids….

Rod Smelser said...

" ... I allow all comments save those that are defamatory or obscene - "

I sound approach. Apparently I didn't make the cut in that regard at The Tyee, where my "account" has been permanently blocked. No detailed explanation was offered, but it seems I insulted "Luke Skywalker" too much by insinuating that he was a paid Liberal propagandist, possible a PAB staffer.

Anonymous said...

Why the Carbon/Gas tax?

In the middle ages, when wealthy people were 'nearer to god', than not, they made large gifts or 'indulgances' to the church to help ease (grease?) their way to heaven. The thought then was, after a lifrtime of wickedness, god and a secure place in heaven could be bought for a price.

The carbon/gas tax is a latter day indulgence by the Premier and the Liberals, to help grease their way to environmental nervana, on our dime. It must have worked, because Suzuki and Berman jumped on the carbon/gas tax band wagon.

The upshot of all this is; we still don't know if midevil indulgenceslifetimenirvanamedieval worked; nor do we know that a carbon tax will work either.

Those, of course, who were against the church or giving of indulgencesindulgences were burnt at the stake, something the carbon tax crowd would like to do with the 'Axe-the-tax' crowd.

One wonders if that would be carbon friendly?

The Evil Eye

Anonymous said...

Ha ha - good stuff, Carbon Tax and STV. Can we please get back to the BCRail case instead of flogging dead horses? Please Bill, I hope you've got something new on the case or I'm afraid your next column/blog will be the Fred Cutler et al report on why people voted the way they did on STV. Saw a bit of it on Tyee, what a surprise. Liberal supporters didn't like it but everyone else did.

DPL said...

Bill has been attacked by folks who refuse to accept that the STV died, not because of him, but by the majority of BC voters. The carbon gas tax is also opposed by the majority of folks who responded to some polls on the subject. Methings some folks are trying to use Bill and David Scheck as a bad influence. Speaking of David Schreck , try reading some of his articles, with his name attached. His latest on BC budget thoughts might turn you away from constantly harping on issues that the majority has voted not to like. Yes Gordo won the last election but let's not forget it was a pretty close affair. For the StV fans, there is a site trying to explain why the majority said No. It is tied to the Citizens Forum. You want to read it, go find it.

Anonymous said...

The amazing thing about this poll is that 41% of the population support, or strongly support, a tax increase. (And even more in Vancouver). What other tax increase would have favourables that high?

Most people want to do something concrete about the climate crisis, and this polls suggests that a large minority are willing to make at least a small sacrifice on the wallet-side. The key now is to rejig carbon pricing so that it will not have such an inequitable impact on lower income and rural people. This is a global *crisis*, not just an environmental "issue" like saving the marmot or spotted owl. Make the rich pay, yes, but we will *all* have to pay at some point - either now, or much more seriously later.

Bill Tieleman said...

Just a small correction to the last posting - Anonymous 2:02 p.m. - the polling shows that a TOTAL of 30% support the carbon tax increase, not 30% + the 11% who strongly support it.

Therefore it isn't 41% who support it - just 30%, with 11% strongly supporting and 19% somewhat supporting.

It would be instructive to see how British Columbians would react to removing the tax breaks the BC Liberals implemented to make the carbon tax "revenue neutral" and instead put those funds raised into public transit and other environmentally positive expenditures.

Overall I agree that fairness - and effectiveness - are the key to a solution.