The provincial election is underway and it is interesting to see what the policies are for all parties.
I am very interested to see what financial support the parties are going to offer municipalities throughout the province.
Many citizens are not aware that the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax applies to all municipalities with a payroll in excess of $1.2 million. For the citizens of St. John’s, this means approximately $2.4 million must be paid on a payroll of approximately $120 million. This payroll tax is a major expense for the larger municipalities — Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander and Mount Pearl — as well.
The next provincial government should exempt municipalities from the payroll tax or rebate the amounts they pay each year.
Also, Metrobus in St. John’s pays approximately $450,000 per year on a provincial road tax charged on purchases of fuel (Corner Brook pays the same tax on its bus service).
It is hard to understand why city vehicles such as garbage trucks are exempt but public transportation vehicles must pay a provincial road tax when the buses use only city streets.
I would also encourage the provincial government to rebate to municipalities their portion of the HST collected on purchases of goods and services.
The federal government, to its credit, rebates its five per cent to municipalities. I would encourage the province to rebate the eight per cent it collects.
For the City of St. John’s, this would be a savings of over
As a taxpayer in the city, I would encourage the next government to implement these changes, which would not only benefit St. John’s, but all municipalities in the province.