NDP P.E.I. Leader Mike Redmond is worried about the impact the HST will have on low-income Islanders.
“We sounded the alarm on the HST back in November,” says Redmond, “And this government has done nothing but provide empty statements that appear to be based on very little information.”
Finance Minister Wes Sheridan commissioned a study on the impact of the HST on businesses, but no study was done on the effects on consumers. UPEI economics professor Jim Sentance predicts that average Islanders will pay up to $80 million in increased taxes, which translates into an extra $570 for each person, the NDP says.
“That’s $570 for each and every citizen, states Redmond, “That is $2,200 more in expenses for a family of four. How the heck is a $200 rebate supposed to offset that?"
Redmond spent last Friday afternoon going door-to-door in Charlottetown’s District 12.
“The conditions that some people are living are nothing short of horrible,” he says, “I just can’t imagine how bad things are going to get for low income Islanders once they have the added burden of the HST.”
"How the heck is a $200 rebate supposed to offset that?" - NDP P.E.I. Leader Mike Redmond
Sheridan continues to tell Islanders that businesses will pass on their tax savings to consumers. Jim Sentance agrees that prices will go down, but that price adjustments could take up to two years to materialize.
Redmond is not so sure.
“There is no incentive for businesses to lower their prices," he continues, “if your business could make more money, wouldn’t you choose that option?”
The NDP is calling on the provincial government to do a study of the impact of the HST on consumers and is committed to ensuring taxation fairness for all Islanders, not just those who own businesses.