August 23, 2017
For Immediate Release

Tax Review Will Report Too Late to Avoid Serious Damage

Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, “The Ball government’s tax review‎ will report too late to relieve the serious damage caused by three years of crushing Liberal taxes to the province’s people and economy.”

“The time for the Liberals to get advice on the impact of crushing taxes ‎was before they imposed them,” said Hutchings.

“By the time the review committee reports more than a year from now in November 2018 and by the time the Liberals act almost two years from now in Budget 2019, severe damage will already have been done to this province. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have been crushed by the Liberals’ lazy decision in Budget 2016 to raise more than 300 taxes and fees on nearly everything that could be taxed, including gas, insurance, income and sales.”

“‎The Liberals’ meagre effort to roll back a couple of those taxes leaves the major burden crushing down on our people and employers, smothering our struggling economy at the worst possible time,” said Hutchings.

“Let’s not forget that the decision to impose all those taxes and fees was a Cabinet decision‎ borne by the entire Liberal administration, not a choice of the former Finance Minister alone. It was a collective Liberal government decision to abandon their 2015 Red Book promise to review the tax system in order to reduce the costs for taxpayers and to make the system competitive and attractive. In fact, when we filibustered on the Liberals’ tax approach, every single Liberal government member stood to vote in favour of the tax grabs the Liberals imposed. Are they saying now they made the wrong choices?”

“Even though the new Finance Minister is all but admitting the Liberals failed by not commissioning a tax review before deciding which taxes to raise, he is telling us it will be another two years under that same crushing tax burden before people have a hope of seeing relief. Not surprisingly, that relief will come just ahead of the general election, but the severe damage will already have been done, because we see the evidence of it already,” said Hutchings.

“In fact, the Liberals are already committed to introducing a new carbon tax on top of all the others, which will again play havoc with our slowing economy and impact particular industries that need to drive our economy.”

“The Liberals have spent two years waffling without a decisive plan of action to reduce expenditures, bring innovative and more cost-effective service delivery, and create a capital investment plan which drives growth in our economy to stimulate new revenue‎ streams – a balanced and sensible approach to revenue shortfalls, rather than taking the lazy approach of overloading people and businesses with a tax burden that is detrimental to economic growth,” said Hutchings.

“We don’t need a crystal ball to know that the tax review‎ will tell the Liberals the approach is wrong and needs to be changed. What have the Liberals been doing for the past two years if they’re only now turning their attention to understanding tax policy and its effect on our people and our economy? It’s not acceptable that the people of our province will have to wait another two years for the Liberals to discover what everyone else already discovered about the failure of the Budget 2016 and 2017 Liberal approach,” said Hutchings.

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Media Contact:
Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications,
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca