Opposition warns of possible HST hike in P.E.I.
If the HST is raised in P.E.I., seniors, families and vulnerable Islanders will bear the brunt, says Opposition finance critic Darlene Compton.
Compton told Premier Wade MacLauchlan to “come clean’’ with Islanders on his plans to raise the harmonized sales tax.
“It’s looking more and more like the premier and his regional counterparts have been cooking up a secret deal behind closed doors to raise taxes again,’’ Compton, the Belfast-Murray River MLA, said in a statement released Thursday.
“It’s simply not good enough to say it’s premature to comment at this time. The premier needs to be crystal clear with Islanders.’’
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is calling on the Atlantic provinces to come together on a common HST rate of 15 per cent.
Islanders have been paying harmonized sales tax on some goods since April 1, 2013.
The total tax in the province actually decreased from 15.5 per cent to 14 with the introduction of HST, but tax increased on certain commodities.
McNeil argues the HST is the fairest tax in the region as long as it is common.
Compton says the HST has added $80 million a year to the tax bill, footed by Island families.
“Raising the HST will hurt Islanders by taking more money out of their pockets,’’ she says.
“Increasing the HST won’t help grow a fragile economy or create jobs for Islanders as recent history has shown.’’
A spokesman from the Finance Department says since government has just begun its annual pre-budget consultations with Islanders, it would be unfair to Islanders to speculate about what will be in the budget until the process is complete.
“No decisions will be made until after we have gathered input from Islanders,’’ he said.
“It’s looking more and more like the premier and his regional counterparts have been cooking up a secret deal behind closed doors to raise taxes again.”