Taxpayers Federation proposes New Year’s resolutions for New Brunswick

Author: Renaud Brossard 30/12/2020

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is asking the government of New Brunswick to adopt resolutions to start the new year on the right foot.

“Many Canadians see this time of year as a turning point to do better and commit to New Year’s resolutions,” said CTF Interim Atlantic Director Renaud Brossard. “That’s exactly what we’re asking from governments – to do better – by adopting these resolutions.”

1 – Keep the Permanent Assessment Gap Exemption in place

In the speech from the throne earlier this year, the newly minted Higgs majority government hinted at plans to remove what is known as the Permanent Assessment Gap Exemption. This would lead to tax hikes averaging $100 annually for more than 100,000 New Brunswick homeowners.

“Thousands of people across New Brunswick have been hard hit by the pandemic’s economic impacts,” said Brossard. “The Permanent Assessment Gap Exemption needs to stay in place to spare New Brunswick homeowners from a second, government-imposed, financial hit.”

2 – Put forward a plan to bring the budget back to balance

New Brunswick’s budget deficit is expected to reach $183 million this year, bringing the province’s debt to more than $14 billion. Interest payments on this debt cost New Brunswick taxpayers $655 million per year, or roughly 30 per cent of what the province collects from personal income taxes.

“The current deficit is not sustainable in the long-run and it is costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in interest payments every year,” said Brossard. “The government needs to put forward a solid plan to get the budget back to balance.”

3 – Consolidate the health networks to save money on management

New Brunswick taxpayers spend roughly $3 billion per year on health care. Despite these expenses, wait times routinely exceed benchmarks set by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, with less than half of hip and knee replacements being done within appropriate timeframes.

Former Vitalité health network CEO Gilles Lanteigne has pushed for consolidation.

“There is no French or English way to manage a health agency,” said Brossard. “Consolidating the Vitalité and Horizon health networks would free up much needed cash to either reinvest in front line service delivery or give back to taxpayers through tax cuts.”