N.B. budget 'going to hit taxpayers hard' with 15 per cent HST on the table

FREDERICTON -- Life in New Brunswick will likely get more expensive Tuesday, as the Liberal government unveils deficit-reduction measures that one critic warns will cost the province its competitive tax advantage.

See Full Article

"Hang onto your wallets, because this is going to hit taxpayers hard," Kevin Lacey, the Atlantic director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said Monday.

A two-percentage point increase in the HST to 15 per cent is one option the government has been considering as a result of its year-long strategic program review to address a structural deficit of up to $600 million.

Right now the harmonized sale tax is 13 per cent in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, 14 per cent in Prince Edward Island, and 15 per cent in Nova Scotia.

Lacey said any benefit the province reaps from the increased tax in the short term will be erased in the long run.

"New Brunswick right now is at a position where, vis-a-vis the other Maritime provinces, it is at a competitive advantage. After the budget that competitive advantage is going to be gone and it's going to lose a major weapon it has to create a prosperous economy in a region that's all very similar," he said.

"The HST is going to hit taxpayers hard who are already struggling under higher prices for things like food and other goods. It's really like squeezing water from a stone because taxpayers really don't have any more to give."

Progressive Conservative Leader Bruce Fitch says the government will be "taking the lazy way out" if it raises the HST.

"All businesses and people will feel the effect of any HST increase so the priority of jobs and economy has been put on the back burner and replaced by a tax-and-spend government," Fitch said.

The government is also considering a corporate tax hike, the implementation of highway tolls, and civil service cuts.

"The other Atlantic provinces are wringing their hands seeing these taxes go up because they won't have the pressure anymore of having a lower tax jurisdiction at their border," Lacey said.

He said tolls are really a double tax because New Brunswickers are already paying for the roads every time they gas up, through gas taxes.

Lacey said Nova Scotia is considering new highway tolls and will be looking to New Brunswick for the licence to proceed.

Last week, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said it was up to New Brunswick to determine the best location to put potential tolls, but hinted the border wasn't a good idea.

Premier Brian Gallant has stated that spending and revenue measures will balance out 50/50 over his government's first two budgets.

He has already reduced the size of cabinet and the number of deputy ministers. Gallant and the cabinet ministers also took a cut in pay. Savings in last year's budget were $115 million.

A government source told The Canadian Press that cuts to the civil service, including a 30 per cent reduction in upper and middle management, will save $46 million in this budget.

The provincial debt is roughly $12.4 billion, and interest payments alone are about $700 million each year.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Istanbul gunman captured after more than 2 weeks on run: Police [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ISTANBUL — A gunman suspected of killing 39 people during a New Year’s attack on an Istanbul nightclub has been caught in a police operation, Turkish media reports said early Tuesday. The suspect was captured in a special operations police raid on a house in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district, private NTV television reported. Source
  • Shutdown of coal plants raised electricity rates, failed to reduce pollution: Report

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Ontario’s hell-bent determination to phase out coal-fired generation raised electricity rates without significantly improving air pollution levels, a new Fraser Institute report says. Report co-author Ross McKitrick, an economics professor at the University of Guelph, said the findings should act as a cautionary tale for Alberta and Ottawa currently going down the same road. Source
  • Lavrov: Russia invites Trump officials to Syria talks

    World News CTV News
    Moscow hopes for better relations with the United States based on respect for mutual interests once Donald Trump takes office, in contrast with the "messianic" approach of the outgoing administration that has ravaged ties, Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday. Source
  • Parents of girl charged in 'Slender Man' attack say she’s remorseful, shouldn’t be tried as an adult

    World News Toronto Sun
    MILWAUKEE — The parents of one of two Wisconsin girls who were 12 when they allegedly stabbed another girl 19 times to impress the fictional Internet character “Slender Man” say they were as shocked as anyone by the 2014 attack. Source
  • AF447 searcher recalls pain of failure as MH370 hunt ends

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia -- Searchers' frustration over Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is difficult to overstate, from the monstrous waves that battered search crews in one of the world's most desolate stretches of ocean to the dearth of information on the plane's flight path that stymied investigators. Source
  • Canadian woman wanted in cruelty case reportedly living in Jamaica

    Canada News CBC News
    A woman wanted in connection with one of the biggest seizures of animals on the Prairies has left Canada and is living in Jamaica, according to animal welfare workers there. April Irving, 57, has not shown up for court in Lethbridge, Alta. Source
  • U.K.'s May to signal EU clean break: no 'partial membership'

    World News CTV News
    LONDON - Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to make a speech that will signal that Britain will make a clean break from the European Union and not seek to remain "half-in, half-out." In her most detailed address on the U.K. Source
  • U.K. PM Theresa May vows to guarantee rights of EU citizens soon

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The Latest on British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on Brexit (all times local): 12:40 p.m. Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain will ensure control of immigration from Europe as it exits the EU -- though she pledged to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. Source
  • Many Ontario hospitals extending visiting hours to 24/7

    Canada News CBC News
    A growing number of hospitals in Ontario are allowing visitors around the clock, citing the benefit to patients of having as much support as possible from family members in the hospital room. According to a report being released Tuesday by the Canadian Foundation For Healthcare Improvement, 28 hospital organizations in the province have either switched to 24/7 visiting hours or are considering the move. Source
  • Theresa May spells out plans for 'hard Brexit'

    World News CBC News
    Britain will not seek a Brexit deal that leaves it "half in, half out" of the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Tuesday in a speech setting out her priorities for divorce talks which indicates she is prepared to leave the single market. Source