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

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is launching an initiative to provide horse-assisted therapy to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic (Black Press file photo)
Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen to provide horse-assisted therapy

Therapy sessions will be offered to frontline workers during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Princeton man on motor scooter refuses to provide breath test to police

The scooter did not have a license plate and was not insured

Most Read