Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Promises New High-Income Tax Bracket for Wealthiest Nova Scotians

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Promises New High-Income Tax Bracket for Wealthiest Nova Scotians

Article excerpt

NDP pledges tax hike on richest Nova Scotians

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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's New Democrats are touting a tax-the-rich plan they say will address growing income inequality in the province.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said Tuesday he would raise taxes on Nova Scotia's wealthiest if elected May 30, creating the highest income tax bracket in the country.

On a day when the provincial Liberals pledged to overhaul major hospitals and the Progressive Conservatives promised funding for long-term care facilities, Burrill focused on creating a "fairer tax system."

"Income inequality in Nova Scotia has reached its greatest height," Burrill, a United Church minister, told reporters in Halifax. "Our taxation system is a primary means by which these kinds of inequities can be meaningfully dealt with."

The new high-income bracket would tax earnings over $250,000 at a marginal rate of 24 per cent, up from the current top bracket of 21 per cent for anyone earning above $150,000.

The increase would push the combined tax rate to 57 per cent, the highest in Canada.

But with 45,000 people in Nova Scotia dependent on food banks, Burrill said it makes sense to tax the richest 3,700 people more.

Referring to a slogan used during the Occupy Wall Street movement, which took aim at the top one per cent of income earners in the United States, Burrill said the tax hike would affect a "fraction of the one per cent" in Nova Scotia.

"It's only a sign of a moral economy that we would ask those that are making over a quarter-million-dollars a year to make a larger contribution," he said.

Despite Burrill's promise to address food insecurity and income inequality, he skirted questions about where the revenues from the tax hike will be invested.

The tax increase is expected to generate an extra $20 million a year for provincial coffers.

Still, he said there will be "no higher priority than seeing in every household in the province there is enough money that everybody will be able to get their food from a grocery store rather than a food bank. …

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