“Everything” on the Table … Except the

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Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016


For Immediate Release




“Everything” on the Table … Except the HST




Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, wonders why the Liberals were so quick to discount the HST increase as a way to raise the revenue we need.




This week, both the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council and Nova Scotia Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil recommended raising the HST throughout Atlantic Canada to Nova Scotia’s rate of 15%. APEC’s Finn Poschmann said it makes sense for provinces to rely on sales taxes for revenue and there is “a lot to be said” for a common HST rate in Atlantic Canada. Premier McNeil said "the HST in my view is the fairest tax."












Hutchings points out that, when the Ball government canceled the HST increase that was due to take effect on January 1, they added a projected $180 million this year – and a total of $1.2 billion over the next five years – to the province’s deficit.








“They could have been collecting additional HST revenue right now – in fact, hundreds of thousands of dollars a day, spread broadly across the population, with tax credits to protect low income earners (which we had incorporated in Budget 2015 but were also cancelled by this government),” said Hutchings.






“Instead, they cancelled the HST increase without any plan to make up the difference.”






“The Liberals say everything is on the table, so it’s very peculiar that the Premier ditched the HST as a revenue option right from the get-go and now demonstrates no clear direction on making up the shortfall. Why the contradiction? Where is their fiscal plan to bring in the revenue that the HST would be delivering right now? It’s this lack of a fiscal plan and the lack of revenue that has the credit-rating agencies so concerned,” he said.






On Saturday, former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge told CBC Radio’s ‘The House’ that raising the sales tax ‘would be the most economically sensible way’ of raising the extra revenue that governments need.






Hutchings said, “Nobody likes tax increases, but raising our HST to match Nova Scotia’s rate of 15% would have protected public services, jobs and people in tough times. Community leaders tell us that the fairest way to raise revenue is with a broadly based consumption tax like the HST, so why were the Liberals so quick to reject that option when they say everything is on the table?”










Media Contact:


Heather MacLean


Director of Communications


Office of the Official Opposition


(709) 729 6105




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