Tax the rich, Sheridan told

Steve Sharratt
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Province holds another public meeting on HST

Wes Sheridan

MONTAGUE — The turnout was small but opposition to the harmonized sales tax was vociferous here Wednesday night when Finance Minister Wes Sheridan hosted a public meeting on the tax he claims will jump start local business.

“Rather than bring in a consumption tax, bring in a luxury tax and tax the rich,’’ insisted retired scientist Roger Gordon. “Your tax hurts the poor.”

The Stratford resident said figures and graphs being used by the government to sell the HST are misleading and the end result would mean the lowest income earner is going to take a major hit.

“You are taxing the necessities of life and hurting those with the least,’’ he said.

There were chairs set out for 200 people at the Montague Regional High School but only 20 were filled.

Sheridan claims the HST, to be implemented next spring, will have the greatest impact on families making over $55,000 a year and reduced impact on those making less. He said there will be no tax on prescription drugs, rent, basic groceries and day care.

However, Lori MacKay, president of the Canadian Union of Public Sector Employees, said most of her membership will feel the crunch because they fall in the $30,000 a year income bracket.

“You are taxing the necessities of life and hurting those with the least." Roger Gordon, Stratford

“I’m going to have to pay tax on my kid’s clothing because they wear adult sizes,’’ she told the gathering.

“Our members will have to pay on their children’s school supplies and then because the only thing left we can afford to do is go camping….you’re going to hit us again with tax on those supplies.”

Gordon, who said he and his wife will have to pay another $600 a year, said the HST aims at the “necessities of life” such as electricity, heating, clothing and housing. He said those who can afford a $40,000 car or $400,000 home should be the major targets for government tax.

“This is not a progressive tax,” he said. “It’s totally regressive.”

The finance minister said the HST will provide a level playing field with other provinces and help the private sector to grow and expand.

“I don’t think you’re getting the best bang for your buck from the federal government on this tax,” said MacKay. “I think it’s just a way for you to try and get into the good books with (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper.”

Organizations: Montague Regional High School, Canadian Union of Public Sector Employees

Geographic location: Stratford

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  • Sad state of affairs
    July 22, 2012 - 18:08

    I wasn't going to comment on this one but I have to disagree a little with the story line. If we want people to stay in this province and move here, we have to get out of the mentality that hurting those families who make between 55k and 150k a year should pair more than their fair share of the pot. My wife and I both went to post secondary school and worked hard for many years knowing that a some point, this struggle of living off of very little and studying hard would pay off by the fact that once we graduated and paid off our huge debt, we could live a life a little better than the folks who chose, for whatever reason to not go to school and get a degree. My parents had no money, I worked full time and borrowed heavily and paid my own way through school. My parents didn't pay a dime other than helping me move to and from school. I ate kraft dinner and scraped money together to pay rent. Now I'm loan free and have 15 years experience under my belt and I'll be honest, this whole mentality that I should be taxed so heavily that my income will equal that of a person who chose for whatever reason to skip college/university, maybe even drop out of highschool is so ridiculous that honestly it makes me want to leave the Island. And for all of you who say go, remember, at the 100k plus a year mark, my family already pays a signifcant amount more in taxes and fees to the pronvince than you will and with that money gone, you'll have to pay in more and more. Its my money that brings in the stores like Walmart and Toys R Us. If anyone making over 55k a year decides they are sick of being the ones attacked all the time for making a good living and leave this Island, what do you think will happen to your beloved Gap, Walmart, Toys R Us, Sobeys, etc. These places don't stick around to not have people spending large sums of money. Their demographic is the higher income families who buy enough to justify having a location on the Island. We should be encouraging people to make more money, get better education and show that earning more is a good thing. Not tax the daylights out of anyone who made a better life for themselves because at the end of the day, if we don't, no one will want to achieve higher. Its the one big flaw with a system that says everyone gets paid the same, no one wants to do the harder jobs because why bother if you aren't going to come out ahead in some way.

  • XComa
    July 20, 2012 - 15:10

    The 'Necessities of Life' ( clothing, food, heating, personal heath products, shelter ) should not be taxed at all. PERIOD... The Ghiz Government says this tax will not hurt people under $55,000. How is that now? My pay is not going up as a result of HST. The 'rebates' (we all suspect are going to stop coming) will not offset the additional costs of the HST. So really, I am going to have less to spend. I figure around 9% less... HST will be Bad for Business. I will not be the only one with less money to spend. Something the Government should learn to do and something I will have to do, is spend less money more wisely and look harder for better deals. This should not difficult with Online and Cross Boarder Shopping... Not too long ago a Canadian economist advised to put 15 - 20% away for Retirement. LOL. How am I suppose to do that when I can barely afford to pay my bills ?. I thought my 'utopia' was nice, but what dreamland do these people come from ?.............................. Why I do believe the upper echelon (in this case the Ghiz Gov) believes they have the people bamboozled. I can imagine their conversations: "These Islanders are so dumb. This is easy. How else can we mess them over ? Hmmm, what fees can we raise next"............ Vehicle registration should only be paid once. Islanders have to pay every year. Now Vehicle registration is going to up every year because this Government added Vehicle registration to PEI's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Gist of this or in short, this means the Ghiz Government has added the money from Vehicle registration to a Formula that Calculates Output and they want to see the numbers grow. In the end the GDP is an outdated and poorly thought of measurement that does not an accurately reflection of the economic or social standings. It is my believe that a contributing factor of the state of World Economic problems is the use of GDP...

  • HST is good for Plan B
    July 20, 2012 - 07:05

    Come on we need the HST to help pay for Plan B. It's time that Islanders wake up and smell the pavement. There's a lot better things to fight about than our integrity.

  • proud of you
    July 19, 2012 - 23:18

    Bob---I am so proud of you for speaking out. I wish a few more disgruntled Liberals would do the same!!!!

  • smee
    July 19, 2012 - 20:39

    I will simply do what the government has told me to do..... i will leave this province, I have already begun making plans to move of the island sometime around the end of march!!!

  • bob macdonald
    July 19, 2012 - 19:59

    As a long time liberal I am distraught, -- I want the liberal in power for a long time, ---- but not this gang. They are not liberals, they are comedians. I am embarrased to be linked to these inept, arrogant bunch. I beg Ghiz to resign, we cannot possibly win with him in charge. Please for the love of the party get out, Mr. Ghiz, get out and let someone else straighten up the damage. Let someone else untangle us from the HST and the road in Bonshaw. This way the liberal party may have a shot in the next election but with you and the flock of sheep with you, we are doomed. Please leave. Greetings from a loyal liberal in temporary limbo.

  • allison smith
    July 19, 2012 - 19:45

    Too bad Duke did not reveal his business, I am sure we would all want to do business with someone possesing such compassion--------------------------hope your busniess fails, so you can start all over, being such a star---- maybe in your next life you may find yourself masked and gloved at the conveyor belt at the garbage plant, -

  • betty mcdonald
    July 19, 2012 - 19:39

    Why does this government want to pave the way to prosperity for the next government, - they must know that they will only reap the benefit undtil the next election. It does not make sense, that they saddle us with this tax in perpetuity, while they will be thrown out of office and despised forever, where ever they go. It is not just Ghiz and Sheridan, it is all the liberal MLAs, any one and everyone of them could have said no and sided with the people, - both on the HST and the stupid insane plan B. None of you are accorded any respect and even less after you loose the next election, - you will all be a bunch of has beens, zeros--

  • Mitch
    July 19, 2012 - 19:36

    Sheridan really has no clue!! The public is TELLING the government how things are going to play out and who is going to be effected the most and they aren't even listening!! No matter what Sheridan says....common sense tells anybody with half a brain that the poor people are going to struggle even more than they already are. A luxury tax is the smartest thing I have heard so far!! The people making $55,000 or more are the people that have the means to pay more for things. The people with $50,000 cars and $500,000 homes are also people that likely have $100,000 savings in a bank account and spend thousands of dollars on vacations etc.....they are the ones that can pay more tax and still afford to live. All HST is going to do is drive more people to the Welfare line. You can't get blood from a stone and for someone like me that can hardly afford to live now, how am I supposed to pay more tax on everyday products and support myself???? Not one word of Sheridan's explanation of HST makes a shred of sense. It is nothing but false information and lies.

  • nuffsaid
    July 19, 2012 - 18:47

    It would be interesting to see how many people commenting attended a meeting on the HST. Why are we always so against change. Can pop, sunday shopping booze in the corner stores. Its time people we get with the rest of the world. .. At least sheridan has the smarts to head out and give us all an opportunity to learn about the tax as well as listening to what we have to say. I am pretty sure no politicians want to do the unpopular thing for once maybe we can be patient and not afraid and trust that we r moving in the right direction to pay for what we use.

  • Former Islander
    July 19, 2012 - 18:10

    There should be some serious cut backs with Government wages and positions. Raising the tax on PEI isn't the solution. PEI is very small, it shouldn't take an army to run it, it's just a drain on the island's funds. These tax increases are going to come out of tax payer's pockets, people running PEI government should share some of that hit.

    • maritime union
      July 19, 2012 - 18:39

      PEI is not a viable province. Plain and simple. We have a small tax base that is dependent on very fickle seasonal industries. Yet we have a large but still very ineffective provincial government and far far far too many municipal governments. And the same problem occurs in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We need to merge these 3 provinces into 1 single province and have a single government. PEI needs to get rid of all its municipalities and be a single regional municipality, or 3 municipalities (by county). We do not need all this government and we do not need such high levels of taxation. And we certainly do not need such incompetent politicians like Mr. Ghiz and Mr. Sheridan who are only protecting their own (PNP, Plan B, Borden Hills, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, civil service patronage appointments, outrageous consulting fees to party-friendly law, engineering & accounting firms, etc. etc. etc.) I know where the waste is Mr. Sheridan and it starts with YOU and the colleagues that you meet with around the table each week and pretend to be a government for a pretend province. Give it up and merge. I'd much rather have David Alward or Daryl Dexter run PEI and have perhaps 6 QUALITY MLAs in a united Maritimes than the 27 buffoons that you work with in the legislature in Charlottetown.

  • Roger Gordon
    July 19, 2012 - 18:03

    When I was referring to the "poor," I was using hyperbole to make a point. What I'm contending is that because the hst targets the very items that everyone needs regardless of income, those on lower incomes are affected to a greater degree than those on higher incomes. A low income wage earner still needs electricity, clothing, cloth diapers for his/her child, back to school supplies, and the other items that will increase by a bfurther 9% once the hst comes into effect. So, the hst on these items will consume a greater part of their wage or social assistance check. I could just as easily have said that a $50K p.a. wage earner will be affected by the hst to a greater degree than a $200K a year executive. The point is that with a regressive tax such as this there is an inverse relationship between the size of one's salary and the degree to which the person will be affected by hst. I feel for the very low income people (I am avoiding the term "poor") because they will be affected the greatest.

  • THE SAGE CONTINUES
    July 19, 2012 - 16:27

    The governemnt says this is needed . If that is the case why did Compass state tonight that the Governemnt is giving 3.4 million to one of their buddies. To excuse the expression help with his business. What about bank loans like the working class have to get.? Great to be part of the in crowd isn't it

  • -
    July 19, 2012 - 16:15

    "'I agree with the lady from Tignish who is upset about carrying the load for the poor. Let the poor defend for themselves." Have you ever in your life been 'poor'? Some of us can't afford to go to school to get the education we need, instead, we need to keep working the jobs we have because without that little bit of money, we've got absolutely nothing. I work my butt off, and have little to show for it. My Mother, who is technically disabled has to work close to 60 hours a week in a fish plant in order to keep the bills paid and food on the table. We don't have tons of money, own our own house, but we are NOT lazy people. Please tell me where all of these jobs are, especially for the people who don't have a college degree. Wendy's? Tim Horton's? Raise the pay to a decent wage and maybe things wouldn't be so hard. $10/hr doesn't get you far.

  • Why?
    July 19, 2012 - 15:50

    Ghiz and Sheriden have made it clear that the HST is great for Islanders.Just like the hills of weeds,the road not wanted,the promises no kept.Why promote their spin for their gain.Islanders are smart,they stay home,however they do not forget.

  • Mary Ellen
    July 19, 2012 - 14:57

    Just wondering how STUPID Ghizzy, and Sheradin THINK islanders are????? Wished there was some way this CORRUPT govt. could be kicked out of office before the next election comes around.

  • Gerard
    July 19, 2012 - 14:25

    The reason nobody attending these H. S. T. meetings, This Liberal Government does NOT LISTEN to the people that elected them. We sincerely hope that come next election time that ALL ISLANDERS remember the very poor performance this govt. done for all. Watch CLOSELY when the next election is to happen this Liberal govt. will try again to BUFFALOW islanders in an effort to get back in power....DON'T LET IT HAPPEN.......The Island may be BANKRUPT by then anyway.

    • I am Sorry
      July 19, 2012 - 17:42

      I am sorry Gerard but Islanders are to stupid to not let it happen . They will be fooled again & vote the same way . Just the way it is on PEI . Can't be helped & Ghiz knows it only to well . Smart politican . Well trained in PEI ways .

  • Brian
    July 19, 2012 - 14:17

    A tax on those families who earn over $55000 a year. Let's hack that apart for a moment. 2 parents working for 40 hours a week at lets say just over $13.25 an hour each. That brings them into the $55000 target area. Now, tax the guts out of that $13.25 an hours and Mom and Dad bring home about $8 for each hour worked....clearing roughly $320 each for the week. In pocket before bills each month between the two of them around $2800. Mortgage or Rent for the month ---- $800 to $1200 Heat and Lights and Cable and Internet and phone --- gotta have 'em --- $300 to $500 Car payment --- $300 to $500 Groceries ----- $300 to $500 Bad cough or allergies or worse and need health care?? take another $150 a month. Kids in sports? Have to travel and equip them. That stuff isn't free. Count on another $250 each. Want to go out to a movie? Plan a vacation? Too bad. No money left. Add it all up and there isn't much left for the target families making $55000. They're already in the hole. These are the people struggling to make ends meet every single day. They are the very people who elected Robert Ghiz and Wes Sheridan. They are being hurt by the ones they trusted to work to protect them. To put it another way, Mr Sheridan and Mr Ghiz, there are your bosses. And sooner or later, when you stop listening to and working for your boss, you WILL be fired. Remember that the next time you make promises.

  • SG
    July 19, 2012 - 13:36

    Islanders most expensive Power N Heat Source - ELECTRICITY @ 14% HST !! An increase of 9 % ! (Sheridan claims the HST, to be implemented next spring, will have the greatest impact on families making over $55,000 a year and reduced impact on those making less.) He said there will be no tax on prescription drugs, rent, basic groceries and day care.) This List in Comparison to the items that will carry the HST TAX is Minute ! The Rebate for Islanders earning under $55,000 is also Minute! Many Islanders are receiving higher rebates now under our present Tax System ! I'm surprised 20 people attended. I wouldn't waste my time. ("HST will provide a Level Playing Field with other Provinces.") What about a Level Playing Field for all Islanders ie: Island Tax Payers ie: Island Constituents?

  • up easterner
    July 19, 2012 - 13:03

    This Liberal Gov. is so full of Bull #*&@#"? it is just horendous,they try to sugar coat and make every thing so rosie for the average islanders it's just sicking. YOUR ARE ALL A BUNCH OF CROOKIT CLOWNS THE WHOLE WORKS OF YA!!!! What have you done for any of us since you got in other than put us so far in hole we will never see the light of day.

  • Heavy Taxation, No Representation ...
    July 19, 2012 - 12:39

    Tax the poor, give concessions to the rich, watch the inbetween fall to the poverty line .... and collect your pension!!! What is an accurate indicator of the success of a government? ********************************************************************* "...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

  • Another perspective
    July 19, 2012 - 12:35

    So, who defines who the "rich" are? The guy making $30k, the lady making $40k, or the bureacrat making $100k? As soon as you assign a value and say that anyone over that amount has to pay more tax than those below it, you will find you have people to earn around that magical number suddenly feeling like the working poor. Income taxes are no better than consumption taxes, but at least in the case of consumption taxes with exclusions for necessities, everyone is taxed for what they use. If you don't drive a car, you won't pay tax. If you buy a new flashy speedboat, you will pay taxes. and so on, and so on... And for the good of all, you/we all get to pay taxes for health, education, other services that we all enjoy. I don't have a family member living in a provincial manor. It doesn't mean I have an issue with paying taxes to provide those services to others. I do not have children with special needs. It doesn't mean that I have an issue paying taxes for EA salaries and special programs. This is what our society is all about and why well intended people and programs are in place to ensure essential services are in place, for the greater good. What I do have issue with is why a person has to pay more property taxes for their well kept home while someone else, who takes less care of his property, gets a reduced rate because it does not have the same marketability. Both people get the same government services, don't they? Should the first guy be taxed more, just because he takes pride in his property and respects his neighbors? Hmmmm, is that a consumption or income tax?? Take your pick.... in the end, it's a rip off.

  • rosieredrose
    July 19, 2012 - 12:26

    Is it true that people who buy brand new homes after 1 April 2013 will have to have to pay an additional 14% HST on the price of the home? If so, then only the rich will be buying on PEI.

  • AMAZED
    July 19, 2012 - 12:19

    Obviously the HST appears to be a non-issue. If these were meetings about school boards or stopping the Pride Parade it would be standing room only. People should be urging Harper to tax the corporations raping our natural resources more heavily,we will need it just to clean up the mess.

  • Jacinta
    July 19, 2012 - 12:11

    HST a miserable hateful legacy for our children. I am so disappointed with this government. It has spent itself into a very big hole and expects the tax payers once again to bail them out in a very big way. I for one do not believe for one minute this tax will benefit me at all. A $150 tax credit which is a joke, and how long will it last two years, that is an even bigger joke. The Liberal government is bullying us into a tax we do not want. Taxes on adult clothing, foot wear, second hand clothes, health supplies, electricity, gas, diesel, children's sports, car seats, funerals, tax on tax, eco fee's and so on. I hate this tax. No tax is a good tax, and it is an attack on the consumers of PEI.

  • Duke and Dutchess
    July 19, 2012 - 11:53

    The people who are better off are so because most of us went to school. studied and worked hard to get to where we are now. I agree with the lady from Tignish who is upset about carrying the load for the poor. Let the poor fend for themselves. There is lots of work if they want to do it. And the HST will be good for my business!

    • working poor
      July 19, 2012 - 16:59

      for all the business owners who think the HST will help them, you need to understand that YOUR customers WILL have even less money to spend IF they still go to your buisness's.

    • wardenpei
      July 19, 2012 - 17:41

      Well Duke and Dutchess you failed to mention the name of your business in your comment, why would that be I wonder? It's wonderful to see Islanders pulling together and taking care of each other and that greed hasn't reared its ugly head. I know lots of people who went to school, studied, and worked very hard and still struggle with day to day bills. Acting self-righteous doesn't help anyone. There is an old saying about walking in another mans shoes. I hope someday you will understand that some of those people you consider poor and uneducated have worked harder than you could ever imagine and it is probable their money that keeps your business afloat........

  • Resident
    July 19, 2012 - 11:38

    It's not important who is taxed more or less. What important is the fact that this is a TAX INCREASE and will impact EVERYONE.

  • voter
    July 19, 2012 - 11:15

    PEOPLE are NOT showing up for some pretty good reasons -------it is good to see that people are sending a strong message to the liberal government --people know you are not worth talking to ,not worth listening to and not trustworthy --- ---GHIZ LIED (AGAIN) TO THE PEOPLE and fooled them ONCE on the HST -- -----------------------------------------throw them out by their ears ---

  • Who Would Bother
    July 19, 2012 - 11:15

    Who would bother to take the time to attend one of these meetings after the statments made by this discrace of a minister @ the meeting in Tignish a short time ago . This goverment isn't going to listen to anybody , that is quite obvious .