The NDP PEI is concerned that the Provincial Budget presented by the Finance Minister raises more questions than answers about the direction that the Liberal Government is taking the province.
Regarding the Harmonized Sales Tax, NDP Finance Critic Chris McDonald stated that while he was not totally opposed to the HST, there were many vague areas that needed clarity.
“We now know the rate is 14%,” said McDonald “but we question whether the lower tax rate on some goods will make up for the higher rate on others.”
McDonald also questions the effects of HST on low income Islanders. “Will an exemption on home heating oil really help the poorest Islanders who often live in rented accomodation?”
There is also concern that the HST will cost the province revenue. “With the provincial share dropping from 10% to 9%, this tax could cost PEI tax dollars.” added McDonald “This tax, like much of the Government’s financial dealings, is shrouded in mystery. Is it a done deal or are negotiations with the Federal Government still ongoing?”
The NDP PEI also has serious questions about the increases in fees, services, licences and permits. These are paid for by everyone, so a disproportionate amount will fall onto those with lower incomes. “Someone on a low income who has to keep a car on the road not only has to pay the increased gas cost due to HST, now they will have to spend more on their license renewal and motor vehicle inspection” said McDonald.
Chris McDonald will be issuing a full statement regarding the budget within the next few days.
Finance Critic, NDP PEI