New Brunswick

Increasing HST a bad idea, says Green Party leader

The leader of the New Brunswick Green Party says the idea of increasing the harmonized sales tax to deal with the deficit is wrong.

David Coon in favour of reversing 2009 Liberal tax cuts

The leader of the New Brunswick Green Party says the idea of increasing the harmonized sales tax to deal with the deficit is wrong.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has suggested raising the HST, combined with imposing highway tolls, could bring in $300 million in new revenue for the provincial government.

But Green party Leader David Coon said Higgs' proposal to close the $411-million deficit by reversing personal income tax cuts brought in the former Liberal government in 2008 would be a fairer option.

"The HST disproportionally hits poor people — people who live from cheque-to-cheque," said Coon.

"And income taxes are … fairer because the burden of those tax changes largely fall on the lawyers and the doctors and the university professors and the deputy ministers and so on — people making those kinds of salaries."

Voters would have to approve an HST hike under the New Brunswick's Taxpayer Protection Act. Premier David Alward said in January that he's open to holding a referendum before the next provincial election in 2014.

Coon made his comments Monday while announcing the Green party will launch a province-wide tour to promote an economy for the province that does not depend on resources such as shale gas or a pipeline from Alberta.

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