Opposition raises concerns over $25 million HST payment

Teresa Wright
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The Opposition Tories once again raised concerns today over a $25 million payment the province received as part of transition funding for bringing in the HST.

The province received the money in 2012-13 as a first installment of a total $39 million in funding to help the province roll out the HST.

The amount was accounted for as revenue in the 2012-13 fiscal year, but in February the finance department removed it from that year’s revenue on the advice of the auditor general.

The auditor general advised that a recent change in accounting rules dictates all $39 million should be accounted for in the year the HST was implemented — the 2013-14 fiscal year.

During question period Thursday, Myers said Finance Minister Wes Sheridan knew this accounting rule change was coming when he prepared his budget in 2012-13 and deliberately booked the $25 million in that year to make his deficit look better.

“For one entire year this rule was in place prior to the HST,” Myers said.

“Will you admit that the only reason you put the $25 million in the book was to make your treasurer, who can’t do any decent math with the books, look good?”

Premier Robert Ghiz said when the agreement was signed with the federal government to adopt the HST, that agreement included two payments for transitional funding staggered over a two-year period.

“Will you admit that the only reason you put the $25 million in the book was to make your treasurer, who can’t do any decent math with the books, look good?” Opposition Leader Steven Myers

The money was budgeted accordingly. It was not until the auditor general told them it had to be accounted for altogether in the following fiscal that the change was made, Ghiz said.

“Numbers change all the time and the important part is that we listened to the auditor general, and that’s exactly what we did.”

He was critical of the Opposition’s line of questioning, suggesting the media is asking better questions.

“I think the media is understanding this issue better than the leader of the Opposition,” Ghiz said.

“I was reading on Twitter today that the real question that should be asked here is how did the government meet their budget targets if we took $25 million out of the year 2012-2013. That is the question the leader of the Opposition should be asking.”

According to the province's audited financial statements, the province brought in increases of $14.6 million in personal income tax and $10.1 million in corporate income tax in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

 

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Recent comments

  • Ear Plugs
    April 03, 2014 - 17:12

    Seriously the PC party should pass out ear plugs every time Myers opens his mouth.

  • Guardian Liberal Bias Glaringly Obvious
    April 03, 2014 - 15:38

    Why does the Guardian repeat using such an unflattering photo of this Man and always the twinkling eyes of Ghiz in his shots. The Guardian bias is pathetic in the press. funny eh?

  • don
    April 03, 2014 - 15:06

    myers can we hear from the real leaders of the party all you are is a puppet and say what u are told. so please send out the real leaders.

  • David
    April 03, 2014 - 15:03

    Why are these people harping on something as silly as this when there is countless more important issues. This issue is plain silly who cares when they accounted for it as long as it was accounted for. Do these people not know what is important and what is just plain silly. Education, healthcare and terrible roads not to mention the price of food and fuel are the important issues not the way accounting works. Who Cares!!!!

    • don
      April 03, 2014 - 23:51

      david i wonder did u get a patronage job and can afford the HST are you on welfare? look out islanders for a HST on heating oil plus