Wall would axe used vehicle tax
Some buyers waiting for election outcome
REGINA — A Saskatchewan Party campaign promise might put the brakes on traffic through used car lots pending the outcome of the Nov. 7 election.
But Leader Brad Wall pledged a Saskatchewan Party victory would quickly return sales to the fast lane with the elimination of the provincial sales tax on the sale of used cars and trucks.
“In my view, government should avoid doing dumb things, and charging the PST on the same vehicle over and over again seems pretty dumb,” Wall said, speaking at the campaign office of Regina Wascana Plains candidate Christine Tell.
The promise to end the PST on the sale of used cars and trucks confirmed a leaked election promise that had been obtained by the Saskatchewan News Network on the weekend.
The elimination of the five per cent PST on used cars would reduce provincial revenues by about $45 million annually, according to the Sask. Party.
The PST would still need to be paid once in Saskatchewan on every vehicle, either when bought new or first brought into the province.
The PST was extended to include used vehicles in 2000. But vehicles sold privately for less than $3,000 are not subject to the PST.
Carter Silverson, used car manager at Regina Motor Products, said buyers sometimes aren’t thrilled with having to pay the PST on a used car. Potential shoppers may be more reluctant to pull out their pocketbooks in the next few weeks while they wait to see if a campaign promise turns into reality.
“I just had a salesman walk in here and say, ‘This guy would buy today but he is going to hold off until after the election to see what happens with taxes,’ ” Silverson said.
Being able to cut the PST out of the equation could turn into a selling point if it occurs, he said.
“Especially with the dollar the way it is and people shopping south, it’s certainly helpful for us.”
Campaigning in Saskatoon, NDP Leader Lorne Calvert said the Saskatchewan Party proposal is “hardly a major benefit” to Saskatchewan families, and pales in comparison to the benefits that can be achieved through NDP promises such as a tuition reduction and a universal prescription drug plan.
He made mocking reference to the Sask. Party PST promise in a speech at a campaign rally in support of the NDP’s pledge of a universal drug plan.
“They would say to the family of a 15-year-old diabetic, there is no help for you unless of course you want to buy a $74,000 Mercedes and then we’ll take the tax off,” he said.
Calvert said he thinks the plan the NDP has in place dealing with used cars and PST is “fair and balanced.”
“For the very modestly priced used car there is no tax but for the more expensive used cars there is a sales tax,” Calvert told reporters.
Liberal Leader David Karwacki has criticized the Sask. Party for “tinkering” with various taxes, while his party is proposing sweeping education property tax relief on residences. “We’re going to be focused,” he said Tuesday.