Tax hike, tax cut

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY - Frank Likely Frankly Speak­ing Frank Likely is a re­tired Angli­can min­is­ter who lives in Springhill.

The fed­eral govern­ment’s dreaded Car­bon Tax came into ef­fect re­cently, but the govern­ment of Prince Ed­ward Is­land has taken steps to limit the im­pact on Is­land res­i­dents.

As of the first of the month, driver’s li­censes are now free to get on Anne’s Is­land, and the costs of reg­is­ter­ing a car have been low­ered and in some cases elim­i­nated.

So far, the Is­land govern­ment ap­pears to be the only one tak­ing this par­tic­u­lar ap­proach to re­duc­ing the im­pact of the car­bon tax on res­i­dents of the prov­ince.

Most other prov­inces are pro­vid­ing some sort of a re­bate pro­gram or a re­duc­tion in the ex­cise taxes on fu­els.

The se­cond prong of the Is­land’s car­bon re­duc­tion strat­egy is to re­duce the reg­is­tra­tion costs on ve­hi­cles. All ve­hi­cles will be a re­duc­tion of 20 per cent in ba­sic reg­is­tra­tion fees. This in­creases to a 50 per cent re­duc­tion for non-plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles while plu- in hy­brids and elec­tric ve­hi­cles will be free to reg­is­ter.

By con­trast, the Nova Sco­tia govern­ment has de­cided to go with a cap and trade plan which also came into ef­fect the first of the year. Un­der this plan, com­pa­nies’ car­bon emis­sions will be capped but they will be able to pur­chase off­sets from com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing un­der their caps.

It may be good for the com­pa­nies, but for con­sumers it will mean in­creases in both elec­tric­ity and fuel costs. Un­der the plan, for ex­am­ple, gas prices are ex­pected to climb by about one cent im­me­di­ately. It of­ten changes by that or more in any week un­der our reg­u­la­tion sys­tem, so where is the in­cen­tive for driv­ers to change habits?

To my way of think­ing, the Is­land plan is the most ben­e­fi­cial to res­i­dents and may also prove the most ef­fec­tive in achiev­ing a re­duc­tion in emis­sions.

“As of the first of the month, driver’s li­censes are now free to get on Anne’s Is­land, and the costs of reg­is­ter­ing a car have been low­ered and in some cases elim­i­nated.”

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