ROTHENBURGER – Would you buy a used car from a politician?

Image: Spencer Sproule, Twitter

I BOUGHT A USED VEHICLE a couple of weeks ago. It reminded me how little I understand about some parts of our tax system.

I get the concepts of income taxes and property taxes though they’re rife with complexity and seeming contradictions, which anyone who’s just gone through filing their income tax return knows. But other parts of the system are a mystery.

Taxes permeate every scintilla of our lives. Friday, the carbon tax was back in the news, and gasoline taxes have been on billboards at the Coast all week.

Anyway, I traded in my 14-year-old vehicle for a somewhat newer one that I found at a local car lot. On top of the agreed-to-price, I had to shell out five per cent GST plus seven per cent PST on the difference between the trade-in and the newer one.

We all have to pay our taxes but I don’t accept the principle behind charging sales tax on used vehicles.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (7618 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on ROTHENBURGER – Would you buy a used car from a politician?

  1. Sean McGuinness // May 4, 2019 at 9:07 AM // Reply

    Well, if paying tax on used vehicles sounds unfair, taxing people because they need to eat is worse. We need taxes to generate revenue, the question is what is fair? If you increase sales taxes, the burden falls mostly on the middle and lower classes. What about increasing income taxes, or corporate taxes or capital gains taxes? With conservative governments, these topics are off limits, but apparently its ok with them to charge people $5 every time people drive over a bridge. Govts like these rely on slogans like “keeping your taxes low ” or “putting money back into the hands of hard-working families”. The truth is, people in BC don’t know what’s fair because they’ve never had a fair system of taxation.

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