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

  • Former Hong Kong chief executive Tsang sentenced to 20 months in prison

    World News CBC News
    A former leader of Hong Kong was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in prison for misconduct over a luxury apartment in mainland China intended for his retirement. Judge Andrew Chan said that he was going to sentence Donald Tsang to 30 months in jail but took off 10 months because of his good character and contribution to Hong Kong. Source
  • Suspects wiped toxin on Kim Jong Nam, Malaysia police chief says

    World News CTV News
    Malaysia's police chief says the two female suspects in the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother at Kuala Lumpur's airport were trained to wipe toxin on his face, then wash their hands. Source
  • Pilot radioed in 'Mayday' call before Melbourne plane crash

    World News CTV News
    DALLAS - A pilot repeatedly yelled out "Mayday" but did not say what the emergency was before his light plane crashed into the roof of an Australian shopping mall, killing himself and four American tourists, an accident investigator said Wednesday. Source
  • A bounty on my head, I’m a virtual prisoner in Delhi

    World News Toronto Sun
    For the past few weeks I have been a virtual prisoner inside my Delhi Hotel, unable to walk out or attend any public event unless accompanied by “security.” Threats by Islamic clerics that I had initially shrugged off as false bravado have turned out to be serious after one cleric pronounced on my TV show that I was a “kafir,” an apostate from Islam that, under some interpretations of sharia law, allows any Muslim to kill me, as stated unambiguously by a Canadian Islamic cleric. Source
  • Pilot yelled 'Mayday' before crashing into Australian mall

    World News CBC News
    A pilot repeatedly yelled out "Mayday" but did not say what the emergency was before his light plane crashed into the roof of an Australian shopping mall, killing himself and four American tourists, an accident investigator said Wednesday. Source
  • Ontario senior puts truck up for sale, leaves rental home over hydro costs

    Canada News CTV News
    An Ottawa-area senior says unaffordable hydro bills have forced him to leave his rental home and put his truck up for sale, a scenario opposition MPPs say is becoming more common. Rick Russell, 68, erected a sign on his Brockville rental home that reads 'Another senior loses home due to high energy costs' as a warning to other seniors. Source
  • Vancouver drug users take to streets in national day of action

    Canada News CBC News
    About 200 people marched through Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Tuesday demanding the federal government change its drug policy. "There's a systemic aspect to this," said organizer Jordan Westfall of the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD). Source
  • Father and son killed in head-on collision with each other

    World News CTV News
    WINFIELD, Ala. -- Authorities say a father and son have been killed in a head-on collision with each other in Fayette County, Alabama. Alabama state troopers say alcohol is a factor in the crash that killed 50-year-old Jeffrey Morris Brasher and 22-year-old Austin Blaine Brasher. Source
  • Trump administration working on trans bathroom guidelines

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is working on a new set of directives on the use of school bathrooms by transgender students, the White House said Tuesday. The announcement alarmed LGBT groups across the country that have urged President Donald Trump to safeguard Obama-era guidelines allowing students to use school restrooms that match their gender identity, not their assigned gender at birth. Source
  • Teen boys allegedly shot 14-year-old girl in head over greed

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOGAN, Utah — Two teenage boys charged with shooting a 14-year-old girl in the back of the head and leaving her wounded in a ditch lured her to the spot in a small Utah town with a plan to rob and kill her, prosecutors said Tuesday. Source