Axe the tax

Darrell Cole
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MLA concerned HST increase could hurt local business

AMHERST - If the government increases the HST to bring the province's debt under control, Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott said it runs the risk of jeopardizing businesses along the border with New Brunswick,

The veteran MLA is asking Finance Minister Graham Steele to review and assessment cross border shopping on both the impact on provincial tax revenue and on local business.

"You just have to look at people who are purchasing things like large TVs or appliances. They are going to save a lot of money by going to New Brunswick," said Scott. "That's only going to get worse if you add another two per cent on the price in Nova Scotia. It makes us less competitive."

Scott first raised the issue while speaking to the Nova Scotia Utility and Reivew Board during public hearings on gasoline taxes in Amherst last week. He said the issues facing Cumberland County business owners go beyond gas to other items and he's afraid other retailers will take a hit if the HST is hiked on this side of the border.

"We're already seeing a lot of cross border shopping with gasoline and tobacco. This is only going to compound the situation," said Scott, adding an increase in the HST could also impact the number of New Brunswickers coming across the border to shop in places like Amherst.

Scott admitted he doesn't have an answer to the issue, but feels that once government has an understanding of the issue it may be in a better position to help with things like tax rebates for retailers.

"We need to know how much tax revenue is being lost to New Brunswick and how many people in Amherst are shopping across the border in New Brunswick. Once we have that number, the government will be able to look at what other communities across the country have done to address it," Scott said.

Furniture storeowner Charlie Rhindress is concerned how a tax increase could impact his business and hopes the government looks for other ways to cut the debt.

"We already face stiff competition from Moncton, this is going to make it worse," said the owner of Bargain Bennies. "When you're talking two per cent on the price of a recliner it can be a significant amount of money and people will drive across the border to Moncton to save that."

Rhindress finds it hard to believe that people are willing to pay an extra two per cent in taxes and wonders if those people would still pay that if they could save two per cent by hoping in their vehicle and crossing the border.

Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar said there is no easy solution to the cross border shopping issue, but suggested it's a question that can be put to the minister when he comes to Amherst on his provincial tour in a few weeks.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Utility and Reivew Board

Geographic location: AMHERST, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia Cumberland County Moncton

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Recent comments

  • HB
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Put HST up?

    Forget about shopping in NB. I'm MOVING there. Enough is enough. I give up, white flag waving, I'm crying uncle. Seriously.

    Thanks for ruining my home province, Dexter. It won't be forgotten.

  • Robert
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Yeah... if their answer to debt is to raise taxes it just might be time to think about getting out of dodge. Move just across the border and still have a decent commute back here to work. I'm almost done with this *more more MORE* attitude they seem to have. Instead of getting creative it's simply *take more*. I'm about done with it.

  • lola
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    If the gov wants to decrease the debt by increasing the taxes. I think they need to look at the purchases they are making and charging the people of NS the news is full of this scandle. i don't like my tax money going to buy computers, custom made office furniture camers etc. for the leaders. i can't even afford these items myself. Stop wasting our tax money !!!

  • Douggie B
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    no braking the law here but if skabar and graham want to sit in on a meeting i,m sure me and the other club members can show them that the money is in front of them be at tims sundy morning and my bc buddies will back us WE COULD WIPE ALL THE TAXES OUT IN NOVA SCOTIA

  • Gary F
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Oh that Snakey government, report on the excessive and unethical overspending of our politicians one day and then increase our taxes to pay for it the next day. This is nuts, is there no justice in the province? Are we that write-off-able that no one says, hey, that little strugling province where people make very little in wages and pay the highest taxes - get nothing and pay for more - it's crazy!!!!!

  • peter
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I find I do alot of shopping in New Brunswick, as I can get gas and milk cheaper. This is an incentive to purchase other things as well, while I am there. I like shopping in Moncton and if our provincial government puts the HST up I will definately buy more there, as well as Sackville. Perhaps I will still by groceries in Amherst, at least the items that are not taxed. As for furniture, we always bought it local, as the price is right and there is free delivery.

  • sparky00
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    If any other business provided this poor a level of service we wouldn't pay for it. I say that we all refuse to pay provincial taxes this year.
    Remember history? Our ancestors coming to the new world to avoid over-taxation.
    This is digusting.

  • Jonas
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    huh? yes someone please save amherst.....perhaps amherstonians could have status cards and we can get tax breaks but only in our defined area!

    Lets just hurry up vote in a conservative gov't who will do nothing and we can all cheer.

  • Gerard
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Dougie B, I sincerely hope taht you don't break he law, beucase that kind of thing is almost TOO MUCH! Be GOOD!

  • Troy
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Well I am not living in Amherst any more,,but I feel bad thinking about the government adding more tax to a province that is already taxed to death,,I mean the people are making ends meet barely now......and they just keep wanting more and more and more,,no wonder people sell illegal cigarettes and do what they can to make ends meet,,,our government won't be happy til they get every last penny from the people of that province,,Its a shame, and someone should step in and make it right,,,At least the U.S. was blessed enough to get someone who cares like Obama to try and make life better for its people,,all we have is a bunch of idiots that do nothing but raise taxes at every turn,,,its becoming a joke ,,when does it end ,,when EVERYONE is on welfare.

  • Doggie B
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    it looks like dexter and his merry men never hit rock bottom they are sitting in there big offices making the big bucks while the working poor try to make ends meet . is it food this week or meds or oil ,electric bill . i had enough and so has every one else .AND WHERE IS DEXTER THIS WEEK SPENDING TAX PAYERS MONEY GETTING A TAN WHAT A JOKEthat is why we break the LAW