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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Road Rehabilitation & Access Management Workshop cancelled

The event was scrapped as a result of new social distancing expectations

file photo of fernie alpine resort sign (Scott Tibballs/The Free Press)
FAR winter operations released

Pass-holders at FAR will not have to book ahead to visit the resort

A bear and her cub seen near Fernie in late Fall 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Bears turn in for winter (soon)

Snow, longer nights and less food means the Elk Valley’s resident bear population will make itself scarce soon

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read