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

  • Death toll from violence in Sudan's West Darfur rises to 83

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- The death toll from violence between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan's West Darfur province climbed to at least 83, including women and children, a doctor's union and aid worker said, as sporadic violence continued Sunday. Source
  • Twitter suspends Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene over election fraud claims

    World News CBC News
    Twitter on Sunday temporarily suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican U.S. congresswoman from Georgia who has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories online. Greene's account was suspended "without explanation," she said in a statement, while also condemning Big Tech companies for "silencing" conservative views. Source
  • Barrier-breaking college football player Sarah Fuller invited to Biden's inauguration

    World News CBC News
    Sarah Fuller, the first woman to score in a Power Five conference football game, says she's been invited to attend U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. "It's an honour to be invited to participate in one of America's greatest traditions," Fuller posted Sunday on social media. Source
  • No place for 'far right' in Conservative Party, Erin O'Toole says

    Canada News CBC News
    Federal Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole pushed back against attempts to link his party to Trump-style politics on Sunday, saying there is "no place for the far right" in the Tories while accusing the Liberals of divisive dirty tricks. Source
  • Biden to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in office, sources confirm

    Canada News CBC News
    U.S. president-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit via executive action on his first day in office, sources confirmed to CBC News on Sunday. The purported briefing note from the Biden transition team was widely circulated over the weekend after being shared by the incoming president's team with U.S. Source
  • Biden indicates plans to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in office, sources confirm

    Canada News CBC News
    U.S. president-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit via executive action on his first day in office, sources confirmed to CBC News on Sunday. The purported briefing note from the Biden transition team was widely circulated over the weekend after being shared by the incoming president's team with U.S. Source
  • Biden indicates plans to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on 1st day in office, sources confirm

    Canada News CBC News
    U.S. president-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit via executive action on his first day in office, sources confirmed to CBC News on Sunday. The purported briefing note from the Biden transition team was widely circulated over the weekend after being shared by the incoming president's team with U.S. Source
  • Trump allies involved in rally that ignited U.S. Capitol siege, records show

    World News CBC News
    Members of U.S. President Donald Trump's failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington, D.C., rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president's grassroots supporters. Source
  • Records: Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Members of U.S. President Donald Trump's failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president's grassroots supporters. Source
  • DC attorney general says Trump could possibly be charged with misdemeanor for role in Capitol riots

    World News CTV News
    District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine warned Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump could possibly be charged by city prosecutors with "a misdemeanor, a six-month-in-jail maximum," amid fallout from the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Source