CANNABIS CULTURE – BC NDP Leadership candidate Dana Larsen, a prominent marijuana activist and former editor of Cannabis Culture, announced a plan today to address British Columbia’s structural deficits and increasing income inequality.
[Note: These policy proposals do not represent the opinions of Marc Emery, Jodie Emery, or Cannabis Culture Magazine. Dana Larsen is not an employee of Cannabis Culture.]
The plan would eliminate the deficit and increase education funding without raising taxes on the vast majority of British Columbians.
“Campbell’s corporate tax giveaways since 2001 have failed to increase corporate investment in BC,” Larsen said. “Instead they’ve just massively increased corporate profits and decreased revenue available for program spending. Meanwhile, we have the richest 1% paying less tax than the poorest 10%, while at the same time the income gains of the past 40 years have overwhelmingly favoured the rich. This situation is not sustainable.”
“I propose we return corporate tax rates to the 2001 levels of 16.5%,” said Larsen. “This will by itself nearly eliminate our deficit, leading to an increase in investment and job creation in our province.”
“Beyond that, I advocate raising taxes on the top 0.6% of our society, that is people earning more than $250,000 per year. Currently the top tax bracket is 14.7% on annual income over $100,000. I propose we institute a new tax bracket for income over $250,000 and set that rate at 26%.”
“This modest tax increase on the richest British Columbians will be used to generate enough revenue to meaningfully expand per student funding in British Columbia. This will result in greater economic prosperity and equality for the future of our province.”
Larsen pointed to overwhelming data from Canada, the US, and the European Union showing that tax cuts or increases on corporations and the wealthy have less of an effect on investment and job creation than previously believed. Further, when the resulting revenue is invested in things like education, the benefits to government and the economy outweigh the costs of the taxes.
“We as a society have to ask ourselves”, Lasen said, “is it appropriate to cut taxes on the rich, reduce funding for education, and force future generations to pay for it? How can we look our children in the eye and tell them a few extra dollars for the top 0.6% of our society is more important than their education? We must deal with these tough decisions today, not force our children to clean up our mess tomorrow.”
Larsen has made a series of campaign promises in recent weeks, including plans to make the Vancouver SkyTrain free for all passengers, to put warning labels and tax sugar-filled beverages, and to decriminalize and unionize Vancouver’s sex trade.
Larsen has also promised, if elected, to end the war on marijuana in British Columbia. Since announcing his candidacy in late December, he has received endorsements from marijuana icon Tommy Chong and pot-puffing pro wrestler Rob Van Dam.