Wes Sheridan

P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan says he no longer believes in raising personal income tax exemptions. (Province of P.E.I.)

P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan told the legislature Thursday the government will not be raising personal income tax exemptions while he is in charge.

Basic personal income tax exemptions have been frozen on the Island since 2008, and have fallen significantly behind exemptions available in other Atlantic provinces.

When the freeze started, Sheridan said he would look at raising them again when the budget was balanced, but said Thursday he no longer believes in indexing this tax exemption.

"When we do get to a balanced budget we will look at the ways that we offer tax relief," he said.

"But, Madam Speaker, as long as I have the privilege of holding this chair it won't be in the format of basic personal exemption. There is no reason why [I] should get a further tax relief. I think we can better focus that on those who truly need and must have relief."

Sheridan said he prefers to target savings for single parents, seniors and people on low incomes.

Sheridan was asked when such tax breaks might be put in place, and he said likely not until 2016 at the earliest, when the province hopes to balance the books.