NDP: Wilkinson budget would mean $1 billion to richest, but service cuts and MSP premiums for everyone else

Andrew Wilkinson

THE NDP says that last year they asked the wealthiest 2% of British Columbians to contribute a little more. That revenue helped government reduce costs for regular families and invest more in underfunded services like healthcare, education, childcare, and housing.

On Tuesday, the government announced a new budget that takes another step forward on those priorities.

But in Andrew Wilkinson’s first year as BC Liberal Leader, he has pledged to reverse course by cutting taxes for the richest British Columbians and making everyone else pay for it, points out the NDP. Wilkinson’s commitments would mean:

  1. Cancelling the Employer Health Tax and paying for it by continuing unfair MSP premiums.
  • The 2017 BC Liberal platform provided no timeline or new revenue to eliminate MSP premiums. The BC Liberal Party re-affirmed this approach at its November 2018 convention, meaning  British Columbians would be stuck paying premiums for years to come.
  1. Handing a $1 billion giveaway to the richest 2%, real estate speculators, and profitable corporations. In the last year, Wilkinson has promised at least $1.051 billion in giveaways:
  • $200 million per year to owners of B.C.’s 2% most expensive homes by eliminating the progressive component of the school tax, which only impacts homes worth over $3 million;
  • $185 million to people with multiple vacant homes by cancelling the speculation and vacancy tax;
  • $316 million to the top 2% of income earners by eliminating the top income tax bracket on people making more than $153,000;
  • $350 million per year to large, profitable corporations by cutting the corporate income tax rate from 12% back to 11%.
  1. Cutting services to pay for his billion dollar giveaway to the rich. The revenue he has promised to cut is currently paying for new initiatives, including:
  • A new B.C.Child Opportunity Benefit, which will provide as much as $28,800 for families with one child, and $40,000 for families with two children before the children turn 18;
  • Historic investments in new housing supply for low and middle income families;
  • Reducing childcare costs for families and creating new licensed spaces;
  • Reducing wait times for knee surgeries, hip surgeries, and MRIs;
  • Reducing class sizes by hiring 3,500 new teachers.
Carole James
Photo: Vinnie Combow

Finance Minister Carole James said: “Sixteen years of choices the BC Liberals left people on the outside looking in. Our government is making life more affordable, improving services, and creating good jobs. Andrew Wilkinson would cancel these essential investments to pay for a billion dollar giveaway to the top 2%. Governing is about choices, and we’re going to put hardworking British Columbians first every single time.”