NDP leader John Horgan speaks to supporters in Vancouver, promising a $400 tax credit for renters. (B.C. NDP)

NDP vows big spending, balanced budget

Horgan would begin raising carbon tax sooner

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, and would 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

PHOTOS: Tour de White Rock kicks off

Races take place this evening and tomorrow morning

UPDATE: Walking White Rock streets now a danger, senior says

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said he will contact staff about rough terrain concern

It’s about to get hot: Special weather statement issued for Lower Mainland

Temperatures expected to rise and stick around till next week, Environment Canada forecasts

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

VIDEO: Langley City legendary water fight was a soaking good time

And perfectly timed for a hot weather warning

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

B.C. Lions claw their way back to score 20-17 victory over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers, who beat the Lions 41-19 last week in Edmonton, fell to 2-3 with the loss

Most Read

l -->