Michael demands government justify regressive taxation
In a provincial budget that has been criticized from every corner of the province, the single measure most frequently condemned has been the Liberal Levy – a supposedly temporary measure that takes higher percentage amounts from people at the lower end of the income scales. Today in the Question Period, NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) asked government to be clear about the reasons for implementing this particular measure.
“The Deficit Reduction Levy extracts a higher percentage of income from low and middle income Newfoundlanders and Labradorians than it does from higher income people,” Michael said.
“I understand the Premier’s position that the levy is temporary. I am not asking whether it is permanent or temporary. What I am asking is how government justifies this regressive form of taxation, which puts a heavier burden on low and middle income earners than it does on higher income earners.”
Michael says the levy is an unfair tax that flies in the face of progressive taxation principles. She says presenting it as temporary doesn’t do anything to diminish its unfairness. “A temporary unfair tax is still unfair,” she points out.
She says communication around the facts and figures of Budget 2016 has been confusing at best. In an address to a business audience the day after the ill-advised provincial budget, the Premier claimed that 35 per cent of taxpayers pay 88 per cent of all taxes in the province.
MichaeI says government should table in the House the documentation that support s this claim.