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The Liberal view

Ted Nebbeling on the province and what the future would look like under a Liberal government

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MLA Ted Nebbeling (West Vancouver-Garibaldi) is the Liberal party's municipal affairs critic. A former mayor of Whistler, he recently sat down with Pique editor Bob Barnett to discuss provincial politics and the pending election.

Pique: Is the economy still the Liberals' number one priority?

Ted Nebbeling: It's the number one priority together with health care and education. These are the three items that we believe are inter-linked and that we will be discussing during the election. They're interrelated because with a healthy economy you can provide the very best health care for your dollars. The same for education.

I think it is what people want in the province, they want to see the economy getting better, they want to see people getting the benefits from it.

One of the things we will do, to stimulate the economy, is a considerable income tax reduction. We targeted that first and foremost in the strategy to rekindle the economy. That will be introduced within 90 days (if the Liberals form the next government). The key is that tax reduction, which will give people a bigger pay cheque, that money will be spent on a local level in the communities. So that's where the strength will come from.

Small business will be a real important part of that strategy for the economy. It will start putting more money in the communities, which means stores may hire more people.

The second wave of that is that the manufacturing sector is going to get more demand for goods, which again will create an economic stimulant. And that is where we think things will begin to develop, because when we have more purchases - we may see a reduction in income tax revenue for the provincial government, but at the same time other sectors, other tax areas will actually see an increase, and sales tax is a good example. When people spend their money back in stores an increase in sales tax revenue is inevitable.

At the end of the day we believe we will balance quite quickly. What we lose in revenues from tax cuts will be offset by higher revenues in other areas.

Pique: The economy is a little different than it was a year ago, with energy costs up, the American economy taking a downward turn. Has that changed your party's strategy at all?

TN: Well, not really because again we're trying to stimulate the economy on a local basis. We are not talking about broadening of the export markets - that will hopefully come, but that is not the initial hit that we want to institute to start making a difference.

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