Letter: Users Pay – Abusers Pay More

I’ve been reading about all the concerns over changes to the changes to Alberta Recycling fees and Auto Insurance rules.

If recycling fees increase at the purchase point, and the money is used to develop a system that actually recycles because it is profitable, studies show that the amount of products diverted from landfills improves. When the system is controlled by government, or subsidized, there is no incentive to individuals to make effort in recycling, and the convenience of locations is reduced.

If we take the example of a car battery, those who make no effort to recycle, the abusers, are basically subsidized in their next purchase. A potential reduction in their next purchase offers more incentive for them to take the battery in for the credit, or at the least create a market for someone to search and collect them for redemption. (There is the risk, however, of approaching the Catalytic converter problem!)

Regarding Auto Insurance, I took the time to search the cost of insuring my vehicle if I moved to BC. ( I looked at Merritt, a town of just over 7,000 people, on the highway, 40 minutes from Kamloops, population 90,000).

I currently pay $1,075.00 per year for my 2014 Dodge Ram, with allowing my wife to drive. In Merritt, with less coverage, ( and no one else allowed to drive, it would cost $1,335.00 per year.

This, however, does not take into account that over the past 2 years ICBC, the Government Monopoly on auto insurance, lost just over 1 billion dollars and 800 million dollars in operations. As a government department, this billion dollars is covered by taxpayers. If you estimate the number of working taxpayers in BC at between 3 and 3.5 million, then each one pays an additional tax of approximately 300 dollars each year, somehow, to subsidize this shortfall.
Unfortunately, since virtually all of the taxes collected in BC, even their Carbon Tax, is now put into general revenue. What that means is, even those who are taking the skytrain to a Climate change rally are contributing to a lower insurance rate for automobile drivers.
( Note – gas today in Morinville is 93.5 cents per liter. Gas in Merritt today is $1.27 a liter. My truck holds 100 liters, so a difference of $33.50 per tank. All of that difference is taxes in one form or another, and from the province, because we both pay the federal taxes.)

I am always supportive of a user pay process, because, to some degree, the decisions to utilize the service or product are a decision I make. And someone who abuses those pays more.

Alan Otway

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Alan.

    Your letter is rife with false equivalencies. You sound like the UCP economists.


    Someone who doesn’t abuse and is looking at a $978 increase.

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