People brace for potential tax hikes in Sask. budget

By Kevin Martel/CKOM News Staff
March 21, 2017 - 10:33am

People are preparing themselves for what could be a provincial budget filled with tax increases.

In a video posted to social media, Premier Brad Wall hinted to a shift towards consumption taxes. That could mean an increase in the provincial sales tax (PST) or a possible expansion of it.

Items like alcohol, cigarettes, food and gas could all be hit with a hike.

Taxpayers are bracing for the potential of a lighter wallet.

"We've had it really good for so long," said Bonnie Perreault. "Nobody could have predicted how all the natural resources would have taken the slump that they did. They budgeted conservatively and the bottoms fell out on the prices."

Some people said they are OK with paying more, as long as the money is used to help get the provincial deficit in check.

"If I thought that it would save jobs, I'm prepared to bite the bullet and pay a little extra. I'd pay more in my PST," said Virginia Hersche, who said she would also support a broadening of the tax base.

However, Hersche added she is retired and on a fixed income, explaining some people might run out of money the way things are going.

That's a reality for Jay Brown. He's on disability and lives off an amount he said is less than minimum wage.

"If they raise more taxes I'm better off living in a cardboard box," said Brown.

Tracy Hesterman could potentially be hit a number of different ways. She's a smoker, she occasionally buys liquor and she commutes from Pilot Butte most days. If taxes do go up, she believes there's little she can do to avoid paying them.

"You have no choice," she said. "If we want the product we're going to pay it regardless, so what do you do?"

Brown said he believes he has a choice. He said if taxes move, he's considering a move of his own, out of Saskatchewan. He thinks others could follow suit.

"People will migrate back out."

While raising taxes might not be ideal, Perreault still thinks it's better than continuing to spend.

"It's going to be a hard thing to take but hey, you just have to learn how to budget your money better," she said. "Things are looking up. It's not always the brightest sky but at least there's a glimmer of hope."

 

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