NDP leader John Horgan speaks to supporters in Vancouver this week

UPDATED: NDP vows big spending, balanced budget

John Horgan plans to raise carbon tax sooner, use revenue from Christy Clark's 'LNG fantasy fund' to eliminate bridge tolls

NDP leader John Horgan proposes to increase spending by $717 million in the current year, start a four-year removal of Medical Services Plan premiums, freeze BC Hydro rates, roll back ICBC rate increases, eliminate bridge tolls and still balance the budget this year.

Horgan released the NDP’s election platform Thursday. It promises to pay for the new spending by raising large corporate income tax by one per cent, imposing an “empty housing speculation tax” and reinstating a two-per cent income tax increase on high-income earners removed by the BC Liberal government in 2015. Horgan would also reduce small business income tax by one half of one per cent.

The platform says the subsidized child care plan would be brought in over the next 10 years. Starting this year, the NDP would also increase all income assistance rates by $100 a month, and increase the earnings exemption by $200 a month.

The NDP would begin increasing carbon tax on fuels starting in 2019, two years before Premier Christy Clark has said she would resume increases to keep pace with the federal government mandate for nation-wide carbon pricing. The NDP’s first increase would raise $140 million in 2019-20, which Horgan’s plan counts as revenue rather than offsetting against income taxes as the BC Liberals have pledged to do.

Eliminating tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges in the Lower Mainland would be financed by draining what Horgan calls the BC Liberals’ “LNG fantasy fund,” established in last year’s budget. Horgan promises to work with mayors on a new revenue solution for Metro Vancouver during the three years that the $500 million LNG fund is used to replace toll revenues.

“There’s no tolls in Kelowna, there’s no tolls on the Sea to Sky Highway, why should there be tolls on people who live south of the Fraser?” Horgan said.  “We’re going to refinance the Port Mann Bridge when we get inside and see how bad it is.”

Further savings would be achieved by “cleaning up BC Liberal waste and growing the economy,” the NDP fiscal plan states.

BC Liberal Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the NDP plan would cause a return to operating deficits or force an additional income tax increase to balance the books, and likely lead to a credit rating downgrade for B.C. He estimated that just the previously announced NDP promises would total more than $2.5 billion annually, and the whole package would ultimately cost $4 billion more a year.

That includes $216 million a year to provide a $400 tax credit for renters, announced by Horgan earlier this week, and a $1.5 billion annual price tag for the NDP daycare program when it is fully in place, de Jong said.

 

 

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Falcons host basketball invitational

40 student volunteers helped support 180 players, 28 games

Atom Stars host hockey tourney

Seven teams from the region clashed sticks

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read