VICTORIA – NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix wants to restore a minimum tax on financial institutions in B.C. and use part of the proceeds to restore a grant program for post-secondary students.
Dix also wants to eliminate interest on student loans, which he estimates would cost $30 million, in addition to $18 million annually for grants that used to form part of the financial aid offered to qualifying students.
"It's become dramatically more expensive for students under this government," Dix said Tuesday.
"Students on average are leaving their post-secondary career with an average $27,000 debt load."
Dix proposes to pay for the program by reinstating the corporate capital tax on banks and financial institutions, eliminated by the B.C. Liberal government last year. He would set it at the 2008 rate, which he said would bring in $100 million annually.
"There was a phase-out announced by [former finance minister] Carole Taylor in 2008," Dix said.
"The intent of the government at the time was to bring in a new minimum tax on financial institutions, but even that decision was unacceptable to the government once Carole Taylor left, so there is no minimum tax on banks or financial institutions at the moment."
Dix said the B.C. government and Canadian Banking Association promised the tax cut would result in more employment here.
"In fact, banking jobs have been reduced in British Columbia since that's happened, and banking jobs have increased in Ontario," he said.