Nfld. & Labrador

No appetite for gas tax cut: Marshall

Newfoundland and Labrador may be awash in oil-based revenues, but the government sees no need to cut its share of gas taxes, the finance minister says.

Newfoundland and Labrador may be awash in oil-based revenues, but the government sees no need to cut its share of gas taxes, the finance minister says.

Tom Marshall said he is not sure there is anything to be gained by reducing the provincial gas tax, which is set at 16.5 cents per litre.

"The problem with that is [that as] the price of gas goes up and down, that any reductions in taxes — I mean, I don't think it would be noticeable," Marshall said.

"It would be taken up with increases in price by the oil companies. That's not a place we wanted to go," said Marshall.

In December, Marshall revealed that Newfoundland and Labrador's treasury is on target to finish the current fiscal year in March with a record-busting surplus of $881 million, largely because of the high price of oil.

"I would rather see helping people with heating their homes," said Marshall, referring to government's expansion of a home-heating rebate program that this year will assist more middle-income families.

Gas prices in Newfoundland and Labrador are regulated, through the Petroleum Pricing Office of the Public Utilities Board. The maximum price for unleaded, self-serve gas in the St. John's area is currently $1.167; prices are more expensive across most of the province.