Question Period Highlight – Where is the Fairness in the Tax Review?

November 19, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald asked Stephen McNeil about the Laurel Broten tax review.

MAUREEN MACDONALD: Today, the government received recommendations from the tax review they commissioned a year ago. Unfortunately, the report recommends targeting middle-income earners, seniors, and young people. One recommendation is to eliminate the Seniors Provincial Income Tax Refund. Earlier today, the minister indicated there was no recommendation she was not open to exploring.

My question is, why does the minister think it’s fair to ask Nova Scotia’s poorest seniors to pay more taxes?

DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I shouldn’t be surprised that the member opposite is cherry-picking from a report that we have just received today. This report is complex, it is comprehensive, it has a myriad of recommendations, and we’re going to be taking our time to look at it, to see how it’s interconnected, and to talk to Nova Scotians as well. Thank you.

MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much. Well, now we’re going to have a study of the study. The tax review commissioned by the minister also recommends that Nova Scotians be taxed more on family essentials including home heat, children’s clothing, diapers, books, shoes, feminine hygiene products, and first-time home buyers. Nova Scotians are already struggling to make ends meet and the last thing they need is to be charged more for necessities.

My question for the minister is this, why is she considering more taxes on the essentials Nova Scotian families need the most?

DIANA WHALEN: The purpose of the review was to bring some simplicity and fairness to what is a very complex system that we have right now. It has come about by successive governments of all stripes bringing in little changes in each and every budget that’s brought down in this House. We wanted to bring some sort of clarity to it all and we asked Laurel Broten to please go and do that review. I think now it is really incumbent on members of this House to read that report and to understand what’s been presented, and then we can have a fulsome discussion.