News

Hawes critical of taxation change

Abbotsford-Mission's MLA is speaking out after deputy premier Rich Coleman announced a taxation change that would aid smaller breweries.

On Wednesday, Randy Hawes criticized the BC Liberal government of essentially giving a subsidy and "big market advantage" to one company, Pacific Western Brewers (PWB), which he asserts is no longer a smaller brewery.

"This is fundamentally unfair," said the backbench, three-term MLA who does not plan to run in the May 2013 election. "I don't know why we're doing this. I think this should be pulled back and changed."

Coleman is the minister responsible for liquor policy and put forward Wednesday a new regulation which calls for the mark-up rate breweries pay to increase incrementally between annual production of 160,000 and 300,000 hectolitres.

Smaller breweries are taxed at a lower rate than big commercial operations, until this week paying a flat tax of $1.75 per litre of bottled or canned beer and $1.20 per litre of draft. That rate applied until annual production reached 160,000 hectolitres, at which point the higher commercial brewery rate applied to the entire production run.

Reaching that threshold would trigger a tax increase in the millions of dollars, and PWB of Prince George was the only B.C. producer getting close, partly from increased sales of its low-priced line of Cariboo beers.

The company asserted if the rules hadn't been changed, that it would have had to shut down for a month.

Coleman said Monday the new system creates a sliding scale of tax rates for smaller brewers that takes them up to the commercial tax rate of big breweries when they reach 300,000 hectolitres of annual production.

This is said to benefit seven B.C.-based breweries, according to government.

The pending change prompted reaction from the National Breweries Association which in turn contacted MLAs.

- with files from Tom Fletcher and Langley Times

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

B.C. teachers endorse six-year deal, 86 per cent in favour (with VIDEO)
 
Dix vows to stop B.C. log exports
 
Franz Ferdinand’s trip down the Columbia
A change is in the… complex
 
Despite extension, Pacific NorthWest LNG eyes year-end final investment decision
 
BCTF touts deal in email to members
Chances Gaming Centre GM reaches out to Castlegar Rebels
 
Work underway to raise first totem pole in Gwaii Haanas in more than a century
 
Cops for Cancer Tour de North wraps up in Prince Rupert