Tax increase may be needed to balance budget, says Steele

Jason Malloy
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TRURO - Reducing the number of 'talking heads,' taxing marijuana and amalgamation were just a few suggestions to restore balance to Nova Scotia's finances.
"I believe Communications Nova Scotia is far too big. We have far too many public affairs officers," Bob Baxter said Tuesday.
"All they end up being is talking heads. The press wants to talk to the people who make the decisions, not people who just carry them."
He would like to see the staff reduced in half. A list from Communications Nova Scotia in October showed nearly 100 people on the contact list in government departments.
Baxter's comments were part of Finance Minister Graham Steele's tour of the province to come up with ways to get the province back to balance. He outlined the province is spending more than it takes in and, if nothing changes, the deficit will reach $1.4 billion by 2013. Interest payments are already government's fourth largest expense.
Steele said it "seems impossible to imagine" how it can close the gap without increasing revenue, such as a tax hike.
"If people are not willing to pay more to their government, they have to accept that programs and services are going to have to be cut or reduced," he said.
"It's like if you go into a McDonald's restaurant and you order a Big Mac and only put down enough money for a cheeseburger, it just doesn't work."
Some in the crowd raised concerns about government purchasing land at a time when it is looking at reducing costs. Others wondered if there were cost savings available by amalgamating some of the administration of the province's 11 universities.
"We also wondered if there could be amalgamation of some universities to save money," Hattie Dyck said. "Maybe we have too many."
The cumbersome bargaining process in the province was also pointed out with 450 different contracts for the civil service.
"It's an industry in of itself," said Noel
Hurley.

Organizations: McDonald's

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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  • Carl
    March 10, 2010 - 07:22

    How about a Fat Tax on Soda pop ,Chips,Donuts,Fast Food restaurants and since Nova Scotians are turning to pellet Stoves why don,t we get into making wood pellets to heat these stoves we have to land !

  • Sam
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Well ... they've got to come up with at least another $25 million for our new hospital so it's no suprise taxes are going to crank up. I'd be worried if they didn't given the situation.