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Taxpayers Federation proposes New Year’s resolutions for Nova Scotia

Author: Renaud Brossard 30/12/2020

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is asking the government of Nova Scotia 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 – Scrap the loss-making Yarmouth Ferry

For the second year in a row, the ferry linking Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, with the state of Maine has remained moored. Nova Scotia taxpayers have been on the hook for $8.5 in renovation costs to the U.S. terminal as well as about $600,000 in salaries for U.S. customs officials.

The province expects to subsidize the ferry service to the tune of $16.3 million this year.

“Nova Scotia’s tax dollars shouldn’t serve to subsidize jobs in the U.S. and transportation infrastructure in the U.S.,” said Brossard. “Scrapping the expensive Yarmouth ferry subsidy should be the first thing this government does to help bring the budget closer to balance.”

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

Nova Scotia’s deficit is nearly $780 million. This will bring the province’s debt to $16.8 billion by March. Interest payments are the fourth largest budget expense at $743 million.

“As the vaccine starts rolling out and the economy starts to recover, it is crucial for the government to get back to balance ,” said Brossard.

3 – End bracket creep once and for all

Bracket creep is a form of tax hikes that happens when governments don’t index tax brackets to inflation.

The last time Nova Scotia changed its tax brackets was in 2010. Between 2010 and 2019, the purchasing power of a dollar in Nova Scotia has gone down by 16 per cent.

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Alberta are the only provinces where taxpayers are subject to bracket creep. Saskatchewan ended bracket creep in its 2020-21 budget.

“A dollar today doesn’t go as far as a dollar did in 2010, yet the government taxes Nova Scotians as if it did,” said Brossard. “Indexing tax brackets and ending bracket creep would put an end to this stealthy tax hike and would be welcome news for Nova Scotia taxpayers.”