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B.C. NDP fiscal plan includes higher taxes for wealthy, expanded carbon tax base

B.C. NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston, left, and election platform co-chair Carole James outline the fiscal plan that will form the basis of the election platform during a media briefing in Vancouver on April 11, 2013.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The B.C. New Democrats are proposing a series of tax hikes, an expansion of the carbon tax base and reallocations of current government spending to pay for their priorities if they win power in next month's provincial election.

The party's 2013 platform fiscal plan was unveiled Thursday at a news conference explaining sources of revenue for the NDP platform, which is to be unveiled on the campaign trail.

The election writ comes next Tuesday, launching a B.C. Liberal bid for a fourth term and NDP efforts to return to power for the first time in a dozen years. Voters go to the polls on May 14.

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Some NDP platform pieces, such as increased tax credits for the film and TV production sector, have already been disclosed. And New Democrats said Thursday they would launch a new childcare and early-education plan, as well as a new poverty-reduction strategy.

In addition to an already-discussed increase of one per cent in the corporate income tax rate from 11 to 12 per cent and a reinstatement of the corporation capital tax on financial institutions, the party is proposing an increase in personal income tax for high-income earners.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the top two per cent of high-income earners in B.C. would see an increase on taxable individual income above $150,000, to 19 per cent.

"We're looking at those who have a little more to give a little more," Bruce Ralston, the party's finance critic, told the news conference.

The carbon tax is also being expanded to vented oil and gas emissions. Of that measure, Mr. Ralston said it's a slight increase in the base of the tax but not an overall increase.

The party is also proposing to reallocate program and discretionary spending for party priorities to be fully outlined in the platform.

Overall, the NDP says it would raise $2-billion in new revenue and reallocations by 2016.

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Party members also say they would balance the budget within four years. Mr. Ralston said any new, unanticipated revenues would be used to pay down the deficit.

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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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