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

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Theft of $120 in Sharpie is among the files Oak Bay Police Department responded to last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man steals $120 worth of Sharpies from Oak Bay Village

Police respond to daytime break-in and theft, among other calls last week

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read