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Grand Falls-Windsor passes budget, loses $175 poll tax

Grand Falls-Windsor passed its 2014 budget on Tuesday night — and voted to get rid of its poll tax completely.

The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor passed its 2014 budget on Tuesday night — and voted to get rid of its poll tax completely.

The poll tax meant every adult who did not own property had to pay a $175 levy annually.

Council had debated doing away with the tax for years. On Tuesday night, it took the plunge, led by finance chair Rodney Mercer. 

"We feel that it was essentially a tax on those less fortunate, it was a dinosaur tax," said Mercer.

"This was a tax that was very unfair, especially to seniors, and those living on fixed incomes. $175 may not seem like a lot of money. But to some people, it may mean buying groceries at the end of the week." 

Mercer said the town is doing well financially with a $1-million surplus.

He added that the poll tax made up only a tiny fraction of revenue and it was often hard to collect the money.

Coun. Tom Pinsent was the only councillor who wanted to keep the tax in place. 

"If you abandon it for four or five years and then find you need it down the road, it's going to be really, really hard to put it back in place, so I think abolishing it is a mistake," Pinsent said.

He was outvoted six to one.

The poll tax will be history as of Jan. 1. 

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