For Immediate Release
August 21, 2018
A carbon tax must not add to our tax burden
St. John’s, NL – “Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can not afford any more tax,” says Andrea Stack, Chair of the St. John’s Board of Trade. “A carbon tax must be used to discourage the burning of carbon and other taxes must be reduced to offset the overall tax burden and ensure revenue neutrality.”
“We already carry one of the highest tax burdens[i] in the country, our economy is sluggish, more tax will exacerbate the situation,” says Stack. “The Board is not opposed to a carbon tax, but one thing we know for sure, is that we can not absorb a tax increase. We already have a heavy tax burden, combined by a pending increase in electricity rates. In addition, costs are already high due to our harsh climate and isolated geographic location which demands everything that comes to the province must float or fly, business and our customers cannot handle another tax increase.”
“We also expect meaningful consultation,” says Stack. “The province has known since October 3, 2016 that it needed to develop a policy on carbon.” The deadline for the province to produce a plan regarding carbon tax is September 1, 2018 for an implementation of January 1, 2019.
“We fear, that without meaningful consultation, where details of the province’s proposal are shared, government may inadvertently cause a major impact on one sector or size of business,” says Stack. “Just this past week government admitted that in its haste to in developing the 2016 budget they introduced a tax on iceberg harvesting that had unintended consequences.”[ii]
The St. John’s Board of Trade takes climate change very seriously and we actively work with and encourage our members to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly through our Climate Smart initiative.
We hope that Government works with our business community and tailors its carbon pricing to be fair, equitable, and revenue neutral.
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709 682 0798
[i] “The Province increased a number of taxes in Budget 2016. Currently, on a per capita basis, this Province has one of the highest tax burdens in the country.” Report to the House of Assembly on the Audit of the Financial Statements of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador Page 16. Auditor General of Newfoundland and Labrador, Chapter 2, October, 2017
[ii] It wasn’t until businesses came forward and expressed their concern that we were able to sit back and see unintended impacts. When the department at the time heard about it, instead of saying sorry we’re not concerned, we sat back and said let’s look at what we’re dealing with here.” The Telegram, Thursday, August 16, 2018