Atlantic Canada groups pushing for independent provincial HST
Published Tuesday, February 2, 2016 7:22PM AST
The head of the Atlantic Province Economic Council and the Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada are calling for Atlantic Canadian province’s HST rate to be independent.
Finn Poschmann of the Atlantic Province Economic Council says for four fairly small provinces, there are some areas of competition that make sense - and others that don't.
“Having competing tax rates on either side of a border among our provinces just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for how you want to create incentives for economic activity,” said Poschmann.
A common 15 per cent HST in Atlantic Canada is something Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has wanted for quite some time.
McNeil insists it's the fairest way to level the playing field.
“I was pleased to see our neighbouring province has joined us at 15 per cent,” said McNeil following the tabling of New Brunswick’s budget.
McNeil believes it will make it easier to do business.
“It's my hope that P.E.I. will join them in the coming months and hopefully Newfoundland and Labrador will leave theirs,” said McNeil.
Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada Jim Cormier is disappointed with New Brunswick’s decision.
“We are all about harmonization, but we would like them to harmonize back the other way,” said Cormier. “We've been saying for years to Premier McNeil that we would prefer for him to go back to 13 per cent.”
Cormier says any time you increase the HST, there will be a trickledown effect.
“It's less disposable income that people will have to pay for retail products,” said Cormier. “That is going to have a trickledown effect on the retail economy, which again is the number one employer in New Brunswick.”
New Brunswick’s new rate will take effect July 1.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jacqueline Foster.