Contact: Paul Landry, President & CEO
Cellular: (604) 787-1335
Langley, British Columbia—Cutting the excise tax during National Trucking Week is delightfully appropriate, says Paul Landry, BC Trucking Association President & CEO. “I’m pleased and grateful that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is recognizing the tens of thousands of men and women who quietly, responsibly and efficiently keep Canada’s economy moving, by announcing his intention to halve the current 4¢ per litre excise tax on diesel,” says Landry. Doing so will temporarily reduce the impact of the 2.7¢ carbon tax, which was imposed on diesel tax by the provincial government on July 1, 2008. Alarmingly, BC’s carbon tax on diesel will rise steadily to over 8¢ per litre by 2012.
Since the continued aggressive rise in fuel prices during the first half of the year, diesel fuel now represents the largest component of the trucking industry’s cost base, next to labour. Commercial diesel volumes are massive, with about 1.5 billion litres sold in BC alone. The excise tax reduction will translate into a savings of about $31.4 million per year for diesel users in BC. In contrast, the BC carbon tax will cost the trucking industry almost $500 million over the first 5 years.
The federal government’s announcement and the federal Liberal Party’s intended $900 million fund for the trucking and fishing industries to offset the impact of a federal Liberal carbon tax are in sharp contrast with the actions of the provincial Liberal government. “The federal parties seem to understand that increasing the cost burden on trucking will simply increase the cost of transportation to consumers and businesses without reducing carbon emissions,” says Landry.
Prime Minister Harper has thrown doubt on the provincial government’s claim that its carbon tax is revenue-neutral. Today’s Globe and Mail quoted Harper as saying in Richmond during a campaign stop over the weekend, “Every politician in history who wants to impose a new tax claims that it’s either revenue neutral or it’s temporary. It’s not true. The reason politicians impose a new tax is they need revenue.” Harper spoke more directly about B.C., when he said, “Everybody knows – especially in British Columbia – that that kind of carbon tax is not revenue neutral on the average working family.”
BCTA also disputes the revenue-neutrality claim for the trucking industry. It estimates that families involved in the trucking industry will only receive pennies back on each carbon tax dollar collected by the provincial government.
BCTA has proposed an aggressive industry awareness program combined with financial incentives to help the trucking industry to purchase fuel-saving technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Using the carbon tax stick alone will not achieve it,” says Landry.
BCTA is the recognised voice of the provincial motor carrier industry, representing over 800 truck and bus fleets and over 250 suppliers to the industry. Over 13,000 vehicles are operated by BCTA members in BC. BCTA operating members employ 26,000 people in BC and generate over $2 billion in revenue in the province annually. As an EPA SmartWay Transport Partner, BCTA is committed to helping its members find ways to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.