VICTORIA, CA -- Driving and other fuel-dependent activities are about to get more expensive as British Columbia becomes the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a consumer-based carbon tax.
The carbon tax will apply to virtually all fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal, propane, and home heating fuel. B.C.'s carbon tax, the provincial government claims, will be the most comprehensive in the world.
However, Finance Minister Carole Taylor vowed Tuesday that all money collected through the new tax will be returned through a package of tax cuts and credits.
"We have to find a way that we can work towards improving our environment, but at the same time do it in a way that keeps our economy strong," said Taylor, as she presented a budget that, aside from the carbon tax, commits $1 billion over four years to fight climate change.
The $37.7 billion provincial budget also promises an additional $2.9 billion over three years for health care spending. That brings the total health budget to $13.8 billion for the coming year.
Taylor said the new carbon tax will begin July 1, starting at a rate that will have drivers paying about an extra 2.4 cents per litre of gasoline at the pumps.