B.C. Liberal leader speaks at a campaign event with local candidates, Richmond B.C., Sept. 28, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party)

B.C. Liberal leader speaks at a campaign event with local candidates, Richmond B.C., Sept. 28, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party)

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

Cutting B.C.’s provincial sales tax to zero for a year would get the provincial economy going again, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says.

Wilkinson promised that if he is elected in the Oct. 24 provincial vote, the PST would be removed from goods and services for one year, and then brought back in the following year with the rate reduced from seven per cent to three.

“A major cut to the provincial sales tax gives people a chance to get ahead, to do the things they want to do, to get out to restaurants and enjoy life,” Wilkinson said at a campaign stop in Richmond Sept. 28.

“This will give a family of four an average tax reduction of $1,700. We need to stimulate this economy while getting people back involved and to get them back to work, and that’s exactly what this will do.”

He estimated that the tax relief would cost the provincial treasury $6.9 billion over a year, further pushing up a record deficit already expected to be close to $13 billion for the current fiscal year due to the impact of COVID-19 and emergency spending programs.

Sales taxes are regressive because low-income people spend more of their income on day-to-day expenses, so removing sales tax will help them most, Wilkinson argued. And deficits are a fact of life as the world struggles to recover from the pandemic.

“We should be under no illusions,” he said. “There will be deficit spending for a few years to come, in every jurisdiction in the western world.”

Wilkinson vowed that there would be no reductions in health care, education or other services as a result of the PST cut.

RELATED: Full weight of B.C. employer health tax felt in 2020

RELATED: B.C. ‘almost back to normal’ on scheduled surgeries

NDP leader John Horgan began the second week of his surprise election campaign in Victoria, touting increases in surgical services such as hip and knee replacements and cataract surgeries. Those gains were set back by the pandemic, with an estimated 30,000 procedures delayed and surgical services bolstered with longer hours in an effort to catch up.

Horgan said the B.C. Liberals will scrap his government’s employer health tax, brought in last year to replace Medical Services Plan premiums with a payroll tax. That raises $1.8 billion to fund health services, and is the same style of tax as other provinces with a lower rate, Horgan said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read