Two easy ways for the provincial government to save money
One of the arguments the B.C. government makes in favour of the HST is that it saves money by eliminating the costs of collecting the PST. The government could do something similar by eliminating Medical Service Plan premiums and replacing them by a corresponding increase in income tax. For example, for a single person the premiums are $726 per year. For those with an annual income under $30,000 the premiums are reduced, becoming zero below $22,000. Shifting the premiums to income tax would eliminate a whole government bureaucracy; it would also save us all the paperwork associated with paying these premiums. Other provinces do not make their citizens pay medical premiums. Why not B.C.?
A second way the B.C. government could save us all money is by instituting a pharmacare plan that pays for prescription medicines. There are many advantages to this, similar to the advantages of having universal publicly funded medicare. The big one here is an estimated saving of about a billion dollars a year in drug costs.
I shall be looking for these in the promises from all parties in the next election campaign.