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Letter: Budget driving cost of living through the roof

The 2016 Budget will hurt every household and every single resident of Newfoundland and Labrador in some way — some, much, much worse than others. The Liberal government has parlayed what is now widely regarded as a dishonest election victory into an unbelievable and unbearable tax grab. The cost of living here is in for a big hit, so if you are still unclear about how this might affect you, read on.

What is the financial outlook for your house next year? While some may hope for modest salary increases, others may not fare nearly so well. Some may face wage freezes or wage rollbacks. Less fortunate residents may find themselves underemployed or unemployed. Others may be on fixed incomes.

So, how will our cost of living suffer as a result of the budget? Consider your financial outlook in contrast to some of the staggering taxation measures announced in the budget:

June 2nd: gas tax increases by 16.5 cents per litre and the following month the HST will apply to the gas tax, increase making it close to a 20-cent-per-litre increase.

July 1st: the provincial portion of the HST rises by two points, which represents a whopping increase of 25 per cent (from eight per cent to 10 per cent, with the total HST pegged at 15 per cent).

July 1st: provincial income tax will increase for all tax brackets. The rate of increase ranges from 13 per cent to 21 per cent.

July 1st: a tax of 15 per cent will apply to insurance premiums. A $4,000 bill to insure your home and auto and so on will become $600 higher, thanks to this tax.

There are too many fee increases to list but these examples illustrate the range: 12.5 per cent for vehicle registrations, 25 per cent for driver’s licences, more than 40 per cent on ferry fares, and 67 per cent and 313 per cent for ATV and snowmobile fees, respectively.

The dastardly deficit reduction levy is set to begin July 1st. So much already has been said about this ill-conceived and extremely regressive measure. Even though it was altered this week to spare the lowest income levels, it will still increase the cost of living for many typical households by $300 to $750 while costing millionaires only a few dollars more.

The levy, in combination with all other tax increases, will cause substantial financial stress for households throughout our province. Various estimates and calculators attempt to account for the full impact of the budget. These estimates have ranged anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000. Could your household manage a cost of living increase of this magnitude?

The government tells us that they need to focus on paying down the debt. How are we supposed to ever be able to pay down our debt with these exorbitant tax and fee increases that are a result of this budget?

The time to speak out is now, as opposition to the budget continues to grow. Do not be discouraged by the Liberals lack of response to constituent emails. Please keep asking them how they can support this dishonest government.

Recently, a Liberal MHA finally said what many of his colleagues must be thinking. Thank you, Paul Lane! Hopefully, your actions will embolden other Liberal MHAs to take the appropriate stand against this budget. All MHAs have heard loudly and clearly what their constituents want. It most certainly is not this dishonest budget.

This voter is not at all happy with this government and this budget and will not forget how negatively it will affect so many people.

Cynthia Callanan

St. John’s 


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