Finance Minister Tom Marshall told some of the province’s biggest employers this morning to “watch the blue book” for the government’s plans for payroll taxes. — Photo by Daniel MacEachern/The Telegram
Just a few days before the provincial election writ drops, the province’s finance minister dangled a hint of a payroll tax promise to come in front of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council.
Speaking at the council’s employment relations summit at the Sheraton Hotel this morning, Tom Marshall reminded representatives of some of the province’s biggest employers that the government has raised the threshold under which businesses pay no payroll taxes. The council, under executive director Richard Alexander, has called for elimination of payroll taxes altogether. Marshall, in a 30-minute speech to about 30 people, suggested the council would find favourable news in the Progressive Conservative’s “blue book,” which will contain the party’s platform during the upcoming election campaign.
“We raised the exemption in ‘08 and this year. It’s $1.2 million now, so the first $1.2 million in payroll is exempt,” he said. “We’ve listened carefully to what you’ve had to say, and I must say Richard Alexander has made the argument quite forcefully, and we’re listening. So watch the blue book. Maybe there’s some good things there.”
Asked for more detail after the speech, Marshall talked about measures taken by the provincial government to reduce the province’s overall tax burden.
“The Board of Trade, the Employers’ Council, they want to see us eliminate what they call the payroll tax, it’s really the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Act,” he said. “Government has no money other than what the people and businesses give them through taxes, so we have to strike a balance between having taxes that are competitive, so we’re not overtaxing people and overtaxing businesses but also giving us the revenue that we need to do things like the long-term care facilities and helping people who need help.