British Columbia

NDP promises to introduce housing speculation tax and eliminate interest on student loans

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan unveiled full platform in Coquitlam on day 3 of election campaign.

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan unveiled party's election platform in Coquitlam on Day 3 of election campaign

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan unveiled his party's full platform at an event held at an Italian restaurant in Coquitlam Thursday. (Farrah Merali/CBC)

The B.C. NDP is promising to increase corporate income tax, introduce a speculation tax and eliminate interest on current and future student loans as part of its 2017 election platform.

The party unveiled details at an event in Coquitlam, B.C. Thursday morning.

The platform includes $717 million in new spending for the current fiscal year and projects a budget surplus of $108 million for the 2017/2018 year. 

To generate new revenue, the party wants to increase corporate taxes as well as income taxes on the top 2 per cent of earners and introduce a new speculation tax.

It also plans to reallocate the $500 million in Christy Clark's LNG prosperity fund over the next three years.

The party says that money will pay for the commitment to eliminate tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

Once the money from the prosperity fund is used, they say they will have created a new transportation plan for the entire region in consultation with Metro Vancouver mayors.

The NDP also says it will cut waste from the current budget  and that— combined with an increase in revenue based on higher GDP growth than the Liberals are forecasting — will allow for the budget to be balanced. 

Speculation tax & interest-free student loans

Part of the platform is a new two per cent speculation tax.

Anyone who owns a home in B.C. but doesn't pay income tax in Canada will have to pay the new tax, which it estimates will raise $100 million in this fiscal year.

The party also wants to scrap interest on students loans.

In an effort to appeal to younger voters, the party — if elected — promises students who are are qualified for financial assistance will receive a $1,000 grant when they graduate from a college or university in B.C. to cover part of their student loans.

The remainder of those loans will be interest-free for the life of the loans.

More details on previous promises 

The party says it plans to make good on a promise to offer renters a $400 rebate, but there will be a threshold based on monthly rent.

It will uphold the B.C. Liberals' plan to cut MSP premiums by 50 per cent as of January 1, 2018, then eliminate the fees completely by the end of the first term.

With files from Richard Zussman