A Saint John Liberal MLA has succeeded in his bid to have the province take a closer look at tax exemptions given to heavy industry.
Gerry Lowe is the driving force pushing for an examination of tax exemptions on things like machinery and heavy equipment. He first raised the issue while a member of Saint John Common Council in 2016
Heavy industry makes up a big part of Lowe’s city of Saint John and any additional tax revenue would be welcome by the cash strapped municipality.
The motion before the legislature would see the matter referred to the Law Amendments Committee for study. The minority Conservative government moved an amendment to take the issue out of Law Amendments committee. That would fail and in the end Lowe’s motion would pass.
“I’m glad (for) the three (opposition) parties and I’m glad that the minority government that voted for it,” said Lowe. “Simple as that.”
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Lowe is looking forward to stakeholders and municipalities getting together.
“They’ll come to the table and they’ll discuss the need for more taxation dollars and whether it’s fair or not,” he said.
The Green Party was among the supporters in the effort it says is for tax fairness.
“So that individual families for example are not bearing a disproportionate burden of the property taxes that they currently are because we’re giving a very light ride to heavy industry on their property taxes,” added Party Leader David Coon.
The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association has, and continues, to speak out against the idea. “So I think it would be a mistake to say that we need to tax business more,” said President and CEO Dennis Darby. “How is that going to attract more investment? How is that going to get companies to invest in equipment and capital?”
The Law Amendments Committee is expected to report back to the legislature with recommendations.