BCTA seeks carbon tax freeze

LANGLEY, B.C. — The B.C. Trucking Association would like to see the provincial government to ease a financial burden on the trucking industry and put the carbon tax in limbo.

As the economic recession deepens, BCTA president and CEO Paul Landry points out to Premier Gordon Campbell that freezing B.C.’s carbon tax is an easily achievable and reasonable measure the government could take to reduce the impact of hard times on the industry.

In a letter dated Feb. 6, Landry commented that recent indicators, including unprecedented job losses across the country in January 2009, imply that the economic situation is likely to deteriorate further. The transportation and warehousing sector experienced a 23 percent decline in employment between December 2008 and January 2009, a particularly troubling statistic for the industry given that truck driver is the second most commonly held job for adult males in Canada.

The BCTA insists with diesel prices remaining higher than gasoline and with extremely low margins, the trucking industry, especially those carriers who operate only one or two trucks — 90 percent of the industry in B.C. — would benefit significantly from a freeze in the carbon tax.

As of July 2009, the carbon tax will increase from 2.69 cents per liter to 4.04 cents per liter, an increase of over $20 million for the industry as a whole, says the BCTA.

In his conclusion, Landry reminds the premier that the industry has not lost sight of the benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but its carbon tax dollars could more usefully be applied to investing in fuel efficient technology that might actually help these small but businesses to reduce emissions and fuel usage and save enough money to stay afloat.

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