Opposition Leader Gerry Reid says increased oil royalties and tax revenues
are helping to boost the province’s coffers, while consumers in this
province continue to struggle to afford enough gas to keep their vehicles on
the road. Reid says now is the time for government to reduce or cap the
amount of provincial tax it collects when oil prices are high.
reports this morning indicate that the provincial government is making an
extra $400 million in profits this year from increased offshore oil
royalties. In addition, the province is collecting more money through
gasoline taxes. Currently, over 39 cents of the cost per litre of gasoline
is direct tax. Of this amount, the province collects a direct gasoline tax
of 16.5 cents per litre and a portion of the 15 per cent HST that is applied
to pump prices.
"The price of gasoline in all regions of this province now costs over a
dollar a litre," said Mr. Reid. "This will be one of the most expensive
summers on record for consumers in this province. Each time someone fills up
their vehicle, it will cost them extra money. While the price of gasoline is
extremely high right now, analysts predict it could go even higher over the
next few months.
"Now is the time for the provincial government to take action. Not only
are they making record profits because of the increased price of oil, they
are also receiving more revenues through gasoline taxes at the pumps. These
profits are coming directly from the pockets of ordinary Newfoundlanders and
Labradorians, many of whom are struggling to find enough money to fill up
"I am calling on the Premier and Minister of Finance to address this
situation. The taxes that are currently applied to a litre of gasoline
should be reduced or a cap on taxes should be considered once the price per
litre reaches a certain point. The people of the province are suffering
through these current energy prices, while government is making record
profits. It is now time for the province to give some of these benefits back
to the people, an initiative that will not hurt the bottom line.
"I raised the issue of an electricity rebate a couple of weeks ago. I am
now calling on an initiative to deal with the price of gasoline. With this
growing list of energy issues, government must bring forth their much
promised energy policy and the direction the province plans to take to deal
with these issues. We have delayed long enough, now is the time for action."