PEI·PEI Votes

P.E.I. Liberals propose $76M platform

The biggest chunk of proposed spending in the P.E.I Liberal's $76 million platform announced Monday morning is for personal tax reductions.

Liberal plan focuses on job creation, poverty reduction and increased access to education

The platform proposed by the P.E.I. Liberal Party would see $15 million invested in health care. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

The P.E.I. Liberal Party is promising to add 150 more front-line staff in Island schools, increase the number of psychiatrists and psychologists in the province and reduce tax revenues by more than $19 million.

The biggest chunk of proposed spending in the Liberal's $76 million platform announced Monday morning is for personal tax reductions.

The party plans to invest $16.5 million into rental rebates, property tax savings, increasing the basic personal tax amount, and through the addition of tax credits for in-vitro-fertilization and children's and seniors' activities.

The Liberals are proposing a reduction in property taxes of 10 per cent on the first $200,000 of the assessed value of a home, and to provide a tax credit of up to $300 per year to offset the cost of rental units that cost less than $1,500 per month.

Small business tax reduction

The party says reducing the province's small business tax from 3.5 to 2.5 per cent would also decrease the tax burden for small businesses by $2.7 million per year.

In the plan, another $15 million would be allocated to health care to increase walk-in-clinic capacity and recruitment of rural doctors, lower drug costs for seniors, upgrade mental-health services and drop ambulance fees.

The commitment comes as the Liberals try to win a fourth consecutive mandate on P.E.I. — a rarity for any party in Island politics. The last time it happened was in 1978.

The Liberal's plan also promises faster access to health-care services. It includes a commitment to increase the number of psychiatrists, psychologists and mental-health nurses operating in the province. While there are no specifics on numbers of positions to be added, the platform attaches a cost of $1.3 million to that commitment.

As to how a new Liberal government would pay for the new spending commitments and tax reductions in the party's platform, Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan said a budget tabled after the election would draw on his government's "record of both growth and fiscal responsibility."

Liberal Leader Wade MacLauchlan flanked by the Liberal candidate for Cornwall-Meadowbank Heath MacDonald. MacDonald served as finance minister in MacLauchlan's most recent cabinet. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)

MacLauchlan said the province had just closed the books on the previous fiscal year showing another surplus, last estimated by government to be worth $14 million.

When asked why his government didn't table a new budget before heading into an election, MacLauchlan said "you might as well say that what we're unveiling here today is our budget for 2019-2020."

He went on to say the new Liberal platform is "actually better than a budget" by suggesting a budget is old news the day after it's delivered. The party's platform, he said, would be discussed over the remaining three weeks of the campaign, allowing the party to "engage with Prince Edward Islanders in terms of what they're getting, what their future looks like, and what kind of government they can expect to lead it."

Promise of more jobs

The platform also promises 3,500 full-time jobs over the next three years, a $500 Island education bond for every eligible Islander under 16, increasing the George Coles Bursary to $2,700 per year, and introducing a P.E.I. workers benefits which could support up to 12,600 Island workers.

On a day when P.E.I.'s new carbon levy pushed gasoline prices up five cents per litre, the Liberal platform says the MacLauchlan government has been "holding the line on fuel taxes — while contributing to the global effort to fight climate change."

The P.E.I. government has legislated a further one cent increase in gas and diesel taxes for April 1, 2020. Beyond that, it's not clear how or whether fuel prices in the province will be affected as the carbon price laid out by Ottawa continues to rise until 2022.

More P.E.I. news

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said the Liberal platform would reduce the basic personal tax exemption. In fact, it proposes an increase.
    Apr 01, 2019 1:12 PM AT

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