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BC MLA Rustad explores an idea of a “direct democracy” tool and a new tax referendum process

Critics have become more vocal against big government tax and spend strategies as record high inflation is crushing families.

BC MLA John Rustad is positioning himself to spearhead a tax referendum process to allow British Columbian’s to have a voice in decisions over the tax burden the government wants to inflict on them.

Rustad demands the Government to “Ask for Consent to Increase or Add More Taxes.”

“It’s an issue of fairness. British Columbians can’t afford to live, yet taxes keep going up. Politicians in Victoria should be asking consent from their constituents, who they work for, before raising their taxes.” BC MLA John Rustad said in a statement on Thursday. “Government needs to start asking British Columbians permission — every single time — before increasing taxes or introducing new taxes,”

Politicians plowing full steam ahead with out of control spending budgets with no plan of paying it back leads to tax hikes or inventing new taxes forcing tax payers to pay for politicians overly ambitious plans during uncertain economic times.

“BC’s new budget is nuts: +100 billion in debt.” Rustad tweeted after the 2023 BC Budget was announced.

Revenue generated by BC’s carbon tax now represents the equivalent of over a 15% increase to BC’s provincial income tax revenue, Rustad’s news release stated.

The government and politicians aren’t spending their own money and draw up budgets that contain large amounts of questionable spending.

“People in BC are struggling to put food on the table. Is more government their priority?” Rustad told BC Rise when asked what inspired his direct democracy proposal.

“For far too long, political parties of all stripes run campaigns but when they get in, raise taxes to fund the promises. With few exceptions, taxes are continually going up at all levels. A recent poll suggests that 74% of Canadians think they are over taxed.”

Rustad argues that a direct democracy tool is needed for certain things such as big initiatives or controversial ones. “If a government wants to change its direction on a major issue, should the voters have a say through direct democracy when it happens between elections?” he asked in his email to BC Rise.

“I like the idea of introducing some direct democracy into how our province is governed. It wouldn’t be for all issues. I see it as a tool to address big initiatives or even controversial ones. If a government wants to change its direction on a major issue, should the voters have a say through direct democracy when it happens between elections?” Rustad said in his email to BC Rise.

Rustad told BC Rise he is looking forward to engagement from the public for what types of issues they think direct democracy could be used for. He said this tool should be used on issues that impact the province as a whole not on issues that only impact residents of aspecific region of the province.

“I don’t think it would be fair to ask voters for their choice of a project in one region over a project in another region. Government’s are elected to make those hard choices. But for issues that impact across the province, I think it could be a healthy tool to help get people more engaged. It would also be an effective tool to help bring more transparency into governance.” Rustad told BC Rise in an email.

Rustad is asking British Columbians to contact his office and share their concerns about BC’s tax increases or if they would like to help contribute to his proposal.

“British Columbia’s budget shouldn’t be about punishing BC’s citizens, especially while people are struggling due to affordability and inflation. People work hard for their money, and they deserve to have their voice heard,” Rustad concludes.

On Thursday the Fraser Institute released a report that revealed 74% of Canadians believe the average family is over-taxed by federal, provincial and local governments.

Governments scooped 45.2% in tax from the income of the average Canadian family last year in 2022, according to the report.

The report also found 49% of residents in British Columba believe they receive poor value for taxes compared to the national average 44%. Only 19% of BC residents believe they receive good value for their taxes.

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Jordan is a casual reporter for BC Rise


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