NDP: Wilkinson has promised billions in tax breaks for wealthy and well-connected

THE NDP said on Monday that in the last three years, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has supported $3 billion in tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected.

The taxes that Wilkinson has opposed since 2017 include: 

  • The speculation and vacancy tax: $80 million
  • School tax on homes over $3 million: $200 million
  • Tax on top 2% of income earners: $328 million 
  • Tax on top 1% of income earners: $216 million
  • 1% corporate income tax increase: $296 million
  • Employer Health Tax on biggest 15% of businesses: $1.8 billion

Total: $2.9 billion

BC NDP candidate George Heyman said: “Andrew Wilkinson has promised huge tax breaks for the wealthy and the well-connected. Everyone else will pay for through higher fees, and cuts to services like healthcare and education. He’s a risk people can’t afford.”

Employer Health Tax: $1.776 billion

“I’d like to, first of all, get rid of the unnecessary NDP taxes that have been piled on this year. That starts with this employers health tax which is going to drive up the cost of business in BC and drive employment out of BC.” (CKNW, May 17, 2018 @5:15)

Andrew Wilkinson and his MLAs spoke against the EHT 348 times in the legislature. (Hansard 2018, 2019, 2020)

Andrew Wilkinson and his MLAs voted against the Employers Health Tax on Nov. 6, 2018.

School Property Tax increase on homes over $3 million: $200 million 

In 2018, the BC NDP increased the School Property Tax by .2% on houses over $3 million, and by .4% on houses over $4 million. 

“Asset taxes like the phony NDP school tax and the phony NDP speculation tax are going to disappear if we form government.” (Global News, Jan. 8, 2019)

“The same thing is true of their fake school tax, which has nothing to do with schools. It is designed to attack home ownership.” (CKNW: Oct 16, 2018 @2:30)

Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberal caucus voted against the increase in school tax on homes over $3 million on March 14, 2018.

Income tax increase on top 1% of earners: $216 million 

In Budget 2020, the BC NDP added a top income tax bracket at 20.5% for taxable income over $220,000 (the top 1% of earners). (Budget 2020/21)

Wilkinson was asked about it by KRPI host Jasbir Romana: “So how about taxing the rich? You know, collect the money and that’s how they do something good for others.”

Wilkinson: “Well, the problem with that is there aren’t that many rich people around. And the concern is that there are a lot of people in the technology sector who can live anywhere they want to. They’re usually the ones making the big money and they can say to themselves, wow, this is the highest tax rate on high incomes in B.C. in the last century. It has never been this high since World War I. And now they have a choice. They can pay the super high tax in British Columbia or they could move to Washington State, which is just across the border where your station is, where there is no personal income tax. It’s zero. So if you want to scare away companies, scare away employers. Get people to leave the province. That’s a good way to do it.” (KRPI, Feb 19, 2020 @2:58)

Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberal caucus voted against increasing taxes on the top 1% of income earners on July 28, 2020.

Income tax increase on top 2% of earners: $328 million 

In fall 2017, the BC NDP cancelled BC Liberal tax breaks for the highest 2% of income earners by increasing provincial income tax from 14.7% to 16.8% on incomes over $150,000. (Budget 2018/19

BC still has the lowest personal taxes in Canada for people earning up to $125,000.

“So I don’t like to be too graphic, but if you line up that pile of 18 NDP new taxes and if we’re someday fortunate enough to form government… bring out your chainsaw because we’re gonna get rid of them folks.” (2018 BC Liberal Convention @25:09)

Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberal caucus voted against the tax on the top 2% of income earners on Oct. 18, 2017.

1% corporate income tax increase: $294 million

In fall 2017, the BC NDP cancelled BC Liberal tax breaks for corporations by increasing the Corporate Income Tax from 11% to 12%. 

BC’s corporate tax rate is below the Canadian average and our small business tax rate is the second lowest in Canada.

“The challenge we have is that the NDP put up corporate taxes in British Columbia, and Jason Kenney is about to drop them in Alberta, which means we lose a huge degree of competitiveness. They’re already much lower in the United States courtesy of Donald Trump, so British Columbia has got a problem in terms of retaining corporate head offices and corporate activity at all, rather than have it moving to Alberta, or elsewhere, because of corporate taxes, employer health taxes, and excessive regulation.” (Alaska Highway News, May 22, 2019).

Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberal caucus voted against the corporate income tax increase on Oct. 18, 2017.

Speculation and Vacancy Tax: $80 million 

In 2018, the BC NDP introduced the Speculation and Vacancy Tax on houses left vacant in the urban areas hardest hit by the housing crisis. 

“We will get rid of the NDP’s version of the Speculation Tax.” (Sept 24, 2020, Facebook Live, 43:20)

Andrew Wilkinson’s BC Liberal caucus voted against the Speculation Tax on Nov. 22, 2018.