B.C. Liberal platform focuses on debt reduction, tax freeze
NDP leader in Prince George for forestry announcement
The B.C. Liberal Party have unveiled an election platform that doesn't contain any big new spending plans or flashy announcements.
Instead, Leader Christy Clark revealed a plan in Vancouver on Monday that reads more like a continuation of the government's current plans, with a few tweaks.
Clark stresses that if the Liberals are re-elected for a fourth term, her government would hold the line on taxes and pay down provincial debt.
Clark also says that — contrary to the NDP — her government would not expand the carbon tax or institute a capital tax on financial institutions.
Other highlights from the platform include:
- A five-year freeze on personal income tax, with the exception of the highest income earners.
- A $250-per-child back-to-school tax credit for parents
- A $500 tax credit for teachers who coach.
- Small business tax rate dropping from 2.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent as of 2017.
- Corporate tax rate will come down to 10 per cent by 2018.
The Liberals are also promising to train more doctors and increase hospice spaces in the province, expand the B.C. Training Tax credit, open a B.C. film office in L.A. and conduct annual forest industry trade missions to Asia.
The plan also includes putting a new TransLink funding formula to a referendum in conjunction with the 2014 civic election.
But the centrepiece of the platform is debt reduction, and to that end a Liberal government will dedicate half of future surpluses to debt reduction and beef up balanced budget legislation, including penalties for ministers who don't meet their budget targets.
The Liberals also say government spending increases would be capped at a rate of nominal GDP growth.
NDP leader joins MLA's in Prince George
Polls show Clark's popularity trails far behind New Democratic Party Leader Adrian Dix, who is in Prince George this morning to announce his party's plans to revive B.C.'s forest industry.
Dix, Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald, and two Prince-George-area candidates will be at the University of Northern B.C. for the 9:30 a.m. announcement.
Yesterday, Dix promised an NDP government would ban union and corporate political donations because the money has raised public suspicion about the principals of all parties.
The Liberals have already slammed the proposed donation ban, alleging New Democrats will force taxpayers to fund political parties when individual donations fall short.
The provincial election takes place on May 14, 2013.
With files from The Canadian Press