Anti-austerity demonstration held in downtown St. John's
Social Justice Co-operative of Newfoundland and Labrador organized demonstration
More than 100 people got together Saturday afternoon in downtown St. John's to express frustration with the latest provincial budget.
- N.L. budget: $1.83B deficit, across-the-board tax hikes and layoffs
- Dwight Ball defends tough budget, broken promises
The Social Justice Co-operative of Newfoundland and Labrador organized a demonstration at Harbourside Park. The group is encourging people to reject what it is calling an "austerity budget" announced by the provincial Liberals April 14.
Many of those in attendance were carrying signs with slogans criticising Premier Dwight Ball and other members of the newly elected Liberal government.
Many are upset about a new and unexpected temporary deficit reduction levy that was introduced in the budget.
When it becomes effective July 1, those making $25,000 will be subject to an extra charge of $300 per year. If you make $50,000, the levy is $600. At $75,000 it jumps to $750 and for the biggest earners, it tops out at $900.
The province hopes to begin reducing that levy in 2018.
The newly introduced levy is getting some hate at budget protest <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcnl?src=hash">#cbcnl</a> <a href="https://t.co/dJrzLNgniK">pic.twitter.com/dJrzLNgniK</a>—@KatieBreenNL
Jon Parsons, an organizer and board member with the co-op, says the goal of Saturday's event was to bring people together and show there is solidarity between different groups of society when it comes to opposing the budget.
"There's an awful lot of anger out there," Parsons said during the rally. "The levy in particular seems to be stirring up a lot of resentment and the HST increase I think is a regressive tax that is affecting everyone."
Parsons said while the lower and working classes are going to feel the effects of tax and fee increases, he said the anger he's seeing goes beyond any one group.
"I think it impacts everybody, I don't think it leaves anybody in our communities untouched," he said.
"If we talk about regressive versus progressive taxes, you see that for every dollar of progressive tax in this budget there's $2.5 of regressive tax being introduced."
"People need to come together, all the different sectors of society that have been divided over the past number of months or years. We need to come together and resist."
With files from Katie Breen