2009-03-07

Low Taxes Costly to N.B.

Moncton's Time Transcript is no Toronto Star, that is for sure. Take this "news" article in today's newspaper . 

A classic example of the rich Irving family using their papers to influence public policy. The Irving's didn't write the article themselves, obviously, but they do hire people that dish out "news" like this.

So who are these specialists that are so tax sensitive, that they are willing to move to PEI for $100? Salaries are already lower than out west (that would be you Ontario), for almost everybody.  New Brunswick, for example, has the lowest minimum wage in the country. And if that isn't bad enough, New Brunswick also gives the least to welfare recipients: $270 per month with no extra for housing. If you live in New Brunswick, it isn't because of the money. A few percentage points difference with non-adjacent provinces (note no comparison with Quebec in the article) is not going to make anybody move.

The so-called experts quoted in the article think New Brunswick should have the same tax rate as Alberta. The same tax rate as Alberta. WTF!? Was oil discovered last night? Did the land become fertile for high yield crops? Did the upper Appalachians turn into the Rockies? No. New Brunswick is a land of trees, potatoes and low tourism potential. Even with generous equalisation payments, that means higher taxes. Never mind the fact that New Brunswick has more kilometres of four lane highways than Alberta with only 1/7th the population. 


 High taxes costly for N.B.
Published Saturday March 7th, 2009FREDERICTON - High-earners in New Brunswick pay more to the taxman than those in many other provinces.
And, according to one expert, that could make it difficult for the province to compete in attracting the brightest minds and much-needed specialists.
New Brunswickers are taxed 46.95 per cent for all income they earn above $123,184, before any deductions or claims are calculated.
That figure, which includes the 17.95 per cent provincial rate on income over $133,273 and the federal rate of 29 per cent on income above $123,184, puts the province at a disadvantage when trying to attract people, said Charles Cirtwill of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.
In fact, New Brunswick taxes its high-income earners more than any other province or territory.
Taxes are one consideration professionals make when deciding where to live, said Cirtwill.
"If you make $100,000, you can move quite freely," he said.
Although many New Brunswickers may not have much sympathy for those earning more than $100,000, losing specialists or professionals to other provinces impacts everyone, Cirtwill said.
"It's not just the doctor you have to have sympathy for; it's the patients who can no longer get the care."
Premier Shawn Graham has committed to lowering taxes by more than $100 million in the upcoming budget, as well as unveiling a multi-year plan to further reduce taxes.
Nicole Picot, the premier's director of communications, reiterated Graham wants the province to have one of the most competitive tax regimes in the country.
"The tax reduction plan to be unveiled in the upcoming budget ensures lower personal income taxes for New Brunswickers in all income brackets and reduces the corporate tax burden on companies that do business in our province," she said. "We recognize the need to ensure that we can attract the best and the brightest to the province and our tax reduction plan will help us do just that."
Roger Haineault of New Brunswick-based Help 4 Taxes said a single male living in New Brunswick, earning $120,000 and claiming standard deductions, would pay $16,321.58 in taxes.
His federal tax bill would be $23,510.16, for a total of $39,831.74.
In Manitoba, the provincial tax bill would be $16,069.42. In Prince Edward Island, the same person would pay $16,217.21 in provincial taxes, compared to $13,838.59 in Ontario.
In Nova Scotia, the bill would jump to $17,101.29.
However, that same person would pay $10,107.87 in Alberta.
That's because he would benefit from the province's flat tax rate of 10 per cent, a system that's been recommended in New Brunswick.
A tax proposal paper written by leading tax-expert Jack Mintz suggested the government move to a flat rate of 10 per cent.
Graham has since said the state of the economy means the province needs to cut taxes over a four-year period.
It's unknown whether, after the four years, government will introduce a flat tax rate.
But a legislative committee endorsed the suggestion in another report.
Cirtwill said a flat tax of 10 per cent is still desirable.

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