The BC NDP today released the fiscal plan which will support their election platform. This plan outlines ways they would generate new revenue and reallocate funding to pay for new programs and initiatives should they form government.

Their plan provides $2B in new or reallocated revenue over the next three years ($311M this year and $733M and $988M in the next two years). Additional details on how they will allocate this new funding will be announced in the coming weeks as they roll out their platform. They also announced that an NDP government would run deficits for the next three years and balance the budget in year four of their mandate. Following last week’s critique of the government’s balanced February budget, the BC NDP pledged to not exceed what they suggest is the “real” deficit of $790M for this fiscal year.

In addition to tax policy changes previously announced, the BC NDP said for the first time today they will expand the Carbon Tax base to include vented oil and gas emissions. This will add $35M in revenue in 2014-15, $70M in 2015-16, and $100M in 2016-17. The objective of this measure is to ultimately drive down emissions and stimulate innovation in the oil and gas sector.

The BC NDP also announced for the first time they will reallocate some existing government spending and cited two examples:

  • The BC Training and Education Savings Grant and Early Years Strategy will be repurposed into a new childcare and early education plan (this is the BC Liberals’ $1,200 per year per child grant).
  • The Early Childhood Tax Benefit will be repurposed as part of a new poverty reduction strategy.

Previously discussed tax measures were formalized in today’s announcement, including the following measures to increase revenue if the BC NDP form government:

  • An increase in corporate income tax from 11 to 12 per cent. This tax hike will come in to effect October 1st, 2013.
  • A pledge to reinstate the corporate capital tax on financial institutions. The rate would be three per cent for banks and one per cent for credit unions, and will also come in to effect October 1st, 2013.
  • Increase for high income earners personal tax rate. The top two per cent of high income earners will pay 19 per cent tax on taxable income over $150,000.

Comparison of NDP Tax Proposals vs. BC Liberal Tax Proposals

In general, media reaction viewed this as a modest departure from the BC Liberal fiscal plan. However, some in the business community have raised alarms about the proposed BC NDP tax increases.

In another announcement today, voters learned that the formal debate of the leaders of the four major parties (New Democrat, BC Liberals, BC Conservatives and BC Green) will occur on Monday, April 29th at 6:30 PM. Various BC television and radio outlets will carry the debate live.