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EDITORIAL – Numbers don’t add up on Horgan’s $1,000 election bonus

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

BRITISH COLUMBIANS can apply for their thousand-dollar election bonus on Friday. That’s the one John Horgan promised us a couple of months ago as a Christmas gift, though it won’t get to anyone until after the big day.

Those who are eligible for the payment will, of course, be happy to get it and, no doubt, it will be of some help to struggling businesses as people spend it into the economy. But there are also a lot of people who won’t receive it.

According to the government, 3.7 million B.C. residents will receive what it calls the tax-free BC Recovery Benefit. I don’t know what that’s based on but I suspect it’s a bit of a guesstimate that includes a calculation of the number of people in households that will qualify.

If we accept 3.7 million as a number based on total population, it means almost 1.5 million won’t qualify. Sad fact is, many of those need the money a lot more than many who will get the thousand bucks.

That’s because eligibility is based on 2019 incomes, not on 2020. The challenge in figuring who to give the money to is obvious: until 2020 tax returns are in nobody will know how many people suffered a significant cut in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As critics of the plan have pointed out, a taxpayer might well have made enough in 2019 to be ineligible but have lost a job or a business during this past year and could really use a thousand dollars right now.

Figuring out pandemic relief is part science and a good deal art. It’s inevitable that some people who really need it won’t get it, and others who don’t need it at all, will get it. Government can only do its best to keep things as fair as possible.

In the case of the BC Recovery Benefit, unfortunately, John Horgan’s NDP have failed on that score.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (8574 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca 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 ArmchairMayor.ca 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 EDITORIAL – Numbers don’t add up on Horgan’s $1,000 election bonus

  1. That’s one sad editorial…but because anyone is allowed the occasional “slip” you are kind of forgiven.
    If the income was really good in 2019 more than likely he/she/it will have something to fall back on, like drawing a bit from the RRSP fund just to tie it over, or curb consumption a tad, or sell a toy or two, or park the fortress on four wheels and do a lot more walking.
    But really 3.5 millions BCers need it? I find that number empirically way too high.
    Best of the season anyway!

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