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WOODSTOCK, N.B.– Proposed tax reforms will increase the burden on middle and low income taxpayers in New Brunswick – so says a report presented today by Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), at the public consultations on the proposals.

Moist detailed for the panel how the tax reforms will harm – not help – the province. The report uses charts and figures to illustrate the punitive nature of the reforms on middle and low income New Brunswickers.

”Behind the rhetoric of Shawn Graham’s Liberals is a flawed direction: for a majority of New Brunswickers – 60% of the lowest and middle income households – these reforms represent a combined burden of higher taxes and reduced services. What’s more, they deprive the government of well over 150 million dollars of annual revenue. The shortfall will have significant impact on competition and the condition of public services – notably health and education – as well as provincial infrastructure,” says Moist.

”The CUPE study shows that the 20% of lowest income households would see their financial burden increase by an average of $565/year while a majority would be worse off by an average of $500/year. Yet the 20% of highest income households will benefit from tax reductions to the tune of $5,377/year. A person earning $300,000 a year could see reductions of $18,400. It’s hard to imagine tax reforms that are more regressive or less equitable.”

CUPE says the Graham government is also taking the wrong road by prioritizing tax relief for businesses – the Minister of Finance stated a year ago that ”New Brunswick is the province where tax rates for business are the lowest in Canada.”

”New Brunswick is pushing neighbouring provinces to level down, too,” adds Moist, “which will create a vicious circle of unhealthy competition in which only big business and the most privileged stand to profit.”

”Haven’t we seen wage and wealth inequality in Canada deepen enough over 20 years? Now is surely not the time to reduce taxation levels and abolish what’s left of equality and of tax progressiveness.”

The Graham plan needs to be completely rethought.”

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CUPE’s discussion paper on the New Brunswick tax reforms: http://cupe.ca/taxation/nb-tax-refrom

For more information: Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Communications – 613-808-0675; Pam Kapoor, CUPE Communications – 613-853-808