KAMLOOPS — School District 73 estimates Victoria's newly proposed employer health tax will start to cost the district approximately $250,000 a year starting in 2020.
Secretary-Treasurer Kelvin Stretch says there will be some initial savings when the tax is first introduced in 2019 before the costs rise. The tax is set to replace revenue generated by MSP premiums.
"I certainly think there's lots of time for districts to share this information with government," he says. "Every organization will be slightly different and that's based on whether the employers are paying a portion of the MSP premiums or whether the district is paying 100 per cent of the premiums and then there are other factors that come into play."
And while Stretch says there is "sufficient time to have those conversations with government to make sure that it's not going to be a signficant impact on school districts," Stretch says $250,000 makes up a tiny portion of the school district's massive budget.
"To kind of put it in perspective, our salary accounts cost about $100 million a year and wages and benefits make up 90 per cent of our budget and our total budget is $176 million. So, it's not as though the district has no opportunity to find some additional funds in order to pay for this but everything eventually takes money out of the classroom."
Looking forward though, Stretch says he's "cautiously optimistic" that the new tax will be fully funded at a net cost of zero to the school district.
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