Don’t expect the province to ease your pain at the pumps.
Even though gas prices in Nova Scotia were expected to jump to $1.30 a litre or more last night, Premier Rodney MacDonald says he can’t afford to cut provincial taxes on gasoline.
“Every single penny that’s collected goes into our highways,” MacDonald told reporters on the first day of the spring sitting of the legislature.
“I haven’t run into a Nova Scotian yet who’s said ‘we want less dollars spent on our roads.’ It’s always ‘more.’”
The third-place Liberals want the province to cut its share of taxes on gasoline by four cents per litre — a move that would cost the provincial treasury $69 million per year. They argue the province can’t compete with New Brunswick, where gas is often 10 cents per litre less. New Brunswick cut its gas tax last year.
Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil also wants the Tories to eliminate gas regulation, saying the practice “is just helping prices soar higher.”
MacDonald said he believes regulation is working, but the province is slated to review the policy in October.
The opposition NDP doesn’t want to cut the provincial take of gas taxes, but thinks government should stop charging HST on provincial fuel taxes. That would cut 1.5 cents per litre off the price of fuel.
“What I’m interested in is that the actual mechanism for taxation is fair to Nova Scotians, and I don’t think tax on tax is fair,” NDP leader Darrell Dexter said.
He said the province needs an energy strategy that would also deal with the quick rise in diesel prices.
“This is going to have a significant effect on almost every single thing that we buy in the marketplace that’s shipped by truck.”