Majority of British Columbians support higher income taxes at $100k: Poll

Most also personally willing to pay higher taxes to support policies that improve quality of life

November 29, 2012

(Vancouver) An opinion research study released today shows the public is ahead of political leaders when it comes to tax policy. It finds most British Columbians — regardless of how they would vote in a provincial election — are in favour of changes to BC’s tax system to ensure everyone pays a fair share and to enable new or enhanced public services. Beyond the 1%: What British Columbians think about taxes, inequality and public services reports results from an extensive online survey of 1,023 BC residents*, conducted in July 2012 by Environics Research, and nine group interviews conducted in Metro Vancouver, Nanaimo and Kamloops.

Among the key findings:

  • British Columbians support tax increases for major corporations and people with high incomes.
  • 67% of respondents think major corporations are asked to pay less tax than they should, and 44% say much less than they should.
  • 78% of respondents say people in the top 20% of incomes are asked to pay less tax than they should, and 63% say much less than they should.
  • 57% said those making $100,000 and over should pay more, and nearly a third believed the threshold for tax increases should be $85,000.

“We’ve had this idea that tax increases are a no-go zone in BC,” says Shannon Daub, Director of Communication with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC Office, who led the study. “But public opinion is shifting, and if anything our political leaders are behind the curve. Not only do most British Columbians want to see tax increases at the higher end of the income ladder, they are prepared to pitch in themselves — if they know the money will support concrete changes, and if we do tax policy in a transparent way.”

“Taxes can be a contentious issue, as we well know in BC,” says Randy Galawan, who co-led the study. “But our research shows that we’re ready for a thoughtful, democratic conversation about how to make the tax system more fair and improve our quality of life.”