Nfld. & Labrador

Budget 2015: Moose licences and 5 other things that hit your wallet

Newfoundland and Labrador aims to raise an extra $18 million through new and raised fees. Find out about some that will affect you.
It will soon be more expensive to hunt moose in Newfoundland and Labrador. (John Rieti/CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is attempting to balance the books in five years, and to do that you'll begin to notice a hit to your pocketbooks — in some cases, immediately.

This year's nearly $1.1-billion deficit budget will include 35 fee hike measures — including nine totally new fees — that will generate an estimated $18-million for the government.

The "precarious spot" that Finance Minister Ross Wiseman said the province finds itself in has led to these six ways the financial struggles will trickle down to you directly. 

1. The moose thanks you, N.L. government

If you're a hunter, no matter your target, you're going to see a hike in the price you pay to hold a licence.

Moose licences for residents will jump from $40 to $52. Non-residents will see the biggest hike from $335 to $502

Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador who hunt caribou will feel the same pinch as moose licence holders. Non-residents will now pay $675 for a licence

Black bear licences will increase by between $4.30 and $50 for residents and non-residents, respectively

Small game and coyote licences will also go up

Trappers will also see a slight increase in fees

2.  Oops! That false alarm is going to cost you

Emergency service providers may be rejoicing at this fiscal move - but those who own a pesky home alarm may not think so. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary will begin charging people whose false alarms send them and fire services on a wild goose chase.
People will be fined $100 for false alarms, while they will be hit with a $50 fee for cancelled alarms. Those new charges come into effect at the beginning of next year.

3. Registering automobiles

For some years, with the exception of 2014, you've enjoyed the perks of spending less on truck and car registration by skipping the lineups at Motor Vehicle Registration.
This year, you'll see a $10 discount on online registration - but that's coming off of an increased registration fee. Drivers will experience a $20 hike from $140 to $160.
Those changes are coming into full drive by June 1.

4. Oil slumps; energy rebate axed

The Residential Energy Rebate program, which helps offset the cost of heating your home, will be eliminated. The program was introduced in 2011 and resulted in all residents getting a rebate equal to the provincial portion of HST.

The Home Heating Rebate program for low-income earners will not be touched.

The changes will come into effect July 1. 

5.  Parks and recreation

Your casual swim at the pools in Gander, Corner Brook and Labrador will cost you more. General swim fees as well as swim passes and lessons will climb, in some cases, by more than double at the Gander pool, Corner Brook pool and the Labrador Training Centre.

For eight classes of swimming lessons, parents will pay $35, rather than the current $25 fee.

Swimmers will feel the increase immediately.

As previously announced, campers will start paying more this coming season, with fees hiked by 20 per cent at provincial parks.

The Rooms in St. John's is also going to start charging more for membership, admissions and rental fees. You'll also have to start paying $2 for parking. The cost of adult admission will jump from $7.50 to $10 immediately.

6. HST jumping to 15 per cent

A nugget of information leaked prior to Thursday's budget release, the harmonized sales tax (HST) will increase from 13 to 15 per cent, starting Jan. 1, 2016.

However, low-income earners will reap the benefits of an "enhanced" HST rebate.

Individuals and families that make less than $30,000 will get the full benefit of that rebate. You can only avail of that tax credit in October 2016. The benefits of the rebate will incrementally decrease as household income increases. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ariana Kelland

Investigative reporter

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's. She is working as a member of CBC's Atlantic Investigative Unit.

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