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Letter: Ordinary taxpayers have their limits

["Confederation Building in St. John's."]
Confederation Building. — Telegram file photo

I recently heard our minister of finance, Tom Osborne, state that if the government was to initiate a large public service layoff it would be devastating to the provincial economy. While I don’t doubt that such a layoff would have a significant impact on our economy, his comment does not take into consideration the drain our obscenely large public service has on the wallets of the ordinary taxpayer.

The people of this province struggle under one of the highest tax burdens in the country and a large part of this burden goes to the public service — a service that enjoys a disproportionally large pay packet along with benefits, perks and a defined pension plan that the private sector taxpayer can only dream of. How many bureaucrats does it take to run a province of half a million people?

I think our finance minister and his government colleagues should start thinking about the people who pay their wages. They should start worrying about taxpayers leaving Newfoundland and Labrador for lower-taxed provinces.

According to Wikipedia, there are 12 cities in Canada with populations greater than that of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. How much do you want to bet these cities run their operations with significantly fewer people than our province does?

I think our finance minister and his government colleagues should start thinking about the people who pay their wages. They should start worrying about taxpayers leaving Newfoundland and Labrador for lower-taxed provinces. A quick check with the Federal Payroll Calculator shows that if I moved to Alberta I would save over $3,500 in annual income tax plus my wife would save a similar amount. Add to that the 10 per cent we would save on sales tax, and the airfare expense we would save visiting our children and grandchildren, and the move starts to look very attractive.

Our government is on the verge of killing the goose that is laying the golden egg and taxpayers are going to start voting with their feet. It’s well past the time to get serious about saving some of that $2 million a day we are borrowing to keep the province afloat. If this government ever decides to show the people it’s serious about reducing this province’s deficit, the popular and overdue place to start would be with our bloated public service.

 

Barry Imhoff
St. John’s

 

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