The BC Liberals have unveiled a major part of their economic plan for the COVID-19 world – eliminate the seven per cent provincial sales tax for a year.
“British Columbians have lost confidence in the direction of the province and the weak economic record of the NDP,” said leader Andrew Wilkinson in a news release. “B.C. families and small businesses need help now, which is why a BC Liberal government will immediately eliminate the PST for one year — saving you money right away, getting more people working, and bringing investment back to B.C.”
The plan is to eliminate the tax for one year and then re-introduce it at three per cent for a second year. The estimated cost to the provincial budget would be $6.9 billion in the first year and $3.9 billion in the second year.
“Countless people are still out of work, small businesses are facing bankruptcy, and the public health threat from COVID-19 is still very real,” said Wilkinson. “Eliminating PST puts more money in people’s pockets, stimulates growth for struggling small business, and helps British Columbians who are struggling to get by. This is a vital step to rebuild our economy.”
According to the Liberals, a family of four earning $60,000 per parent will save $1,714 in the first year, followed by an additional $979 in the second year.
“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the BC Liberal plan,” said Wilkinson.
He added the provincial budget will remain in deficit for the foreseeable future and that it can handle the loss in revenue.
The NDP have countered that removing the PST doesn’t help people with basic costs such as rent, groceries, car insurance, buying a home, or childcare. Those are already exempt from the PST.