P.E.I.’s Opposition Finance Critic James Aylward reminded Island Treasurer Wes Sheridan Tuesday that he still wants to see the basic personal tax exemption increased.
Since we’re paying out more taxes now through the HST, we should be getting a break somewhere.
The provincial government should be bringing more money in. That’s why the HST was imposed on us. So now that there’s more cash flowing in, it’s time to allow Islanders to keep a bit more of our hard-earned dollars.
Aylward would like to see the basic personal tax exemption tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). He suggested this before but was moved to renew his request this week after recent Statistics Canada figures showed that P.E.I.’s CPI had the highest increase in the country last month.
While P.E.I. has the highest CPI increase, our personal tax exemption (at $7,708) is the lowest. This exemption has remained the same for the past several years. Meanwhile the cost of living has risen about 10 per cent and continues upward.
“Sheridan has no problem hiking over 300 government taxes and fees by tying them to CPI,” stated Aylward. “He should be fair with Islanders and immediately raise the personal income tax exemption and tie it to CPI as well.”
Islanders are weighted down with the heaviest tax burden in Canada. We need some tax relief.
A few days ago, Erin McGrath-Gaudet from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, said the Island’s Business Barometer Index of 47.6 in September was by far the lowest reading of any of the provinces. She noted that P.E.I.’s businesses are struggling because EI changes and the HST are having a negative impact on our economy. Islanders have less money to spend.
It’s simple economics.
“When you take that much money out of the economy from consumers’ hands… there’s going to be less demand for the goods and services that are produced here,” said McGrath-Gaudet.
Since the HST has created challenges for consumers, she believes that should be offset in some way, such as adjustments to the personal income tax system.
“Other provinces index their tax brackets and the basic personal amounts that people get to keep tax-free,” she said. “P.E.I. doesn’t do that.”
Well it’s high time we did. Increasing our basic personal exemptions will leave a little more money in our pockets and every little bit helps.