Nfld. & Labrador

Gas tax to be cut: Michael

The New Democrats said Wednesday they want to eliminate the provincial portion of the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.
Lorraine Michael speaks to reporters Wednesday near a St. John's gas station. (David Cochrane/CBC)

The New Democrats said Wednesday they want to eliminate the provincial portion of the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.

Campaigning in St. John's, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said charging the harmonized sales tax at gas pumps adds insult to injury for consumers, as the tax is also applies to existing excise taxes.

"It's perfectly fair to have taxes. We have to have taxes, but it is not fair to tax people on a tax," Michael said at a campaign event near a gas station on Elizabeth Avenue.

Michael said the provincial portion of the tax would be cut within the first year of the NDP taking power.

Michael said the gas tax cut will save consumers about 3.5 cents per litre, and put about $35 million back into people's pockets.

Doug McCarthy, who drives with Co-Op Taxi in St. John's, said he had no hesitation supporting the proposal.

"I'm paying tax on a tax that's a tax. It's got to stop. You're killing me with taxes," he said.

But fellow cabbie Robert Kurtzman doesn't expect the pledge will ever come to anything.

"It's a good proposal, but it's only a proposal," he said. "No government will ever do that. Anywhere."

Michael made the announcement a day after revealing an election platform that included imposing a new surtax on offshore oil companies. That tax would be used to pay for broadened social spending.