Two NDP plans: one smart; one loopy

NDP leader Darrell Dexter today promised to provide 1,000 home insulation grants for low to modest income households. This is a much better idea than Dexter’s plan to subsidize carbon production by removing the provincial share of HST from home electricity bills. Here’s why:

  • Insulation grants will cut the province’s CO2 emissions, while the carbon subsidy will increase them.
  • Insulation grants will target homeowners most in need, while the carbon subsidy will go disproportionately to the well-off, because they use more electricity.
  • Insulation grants will create jobs for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and local businesses, while the carbon subsidy will have little or no employment impact.
  • Insulation grants will produce permanent reductions in home heating costs, while savings from the carbon subsidy will last only as long as the tax break is in place.

The NDP’s proposed home insulation grants will cost $1 million. The carbon subsidy will cost $28 million per year. If the NDP were to drop the carbon subsidy, and divert the money to home insulation grants, the program could permanently reduce the energy consumption of 29,000 homes per year. In 10 years, it could do 290,000 homes. That’s 85 percent of the households in Nova Scotia.