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Nova Scotia's finance minister ruling out cut to gasoline taxes as prices rise

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s finance minister says that as gas and food prices continue to soar, the province is working on another targeted package of relief for those with lower incomes.
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Nova Scotia Finance Minister Allan MacMaster presents the 2022-23 provincial budget at the legislature in Halifax on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s finance minister says that as gas and food prices continue to soar, the province is working on another targeted package of relief for those with lower incomes.

However, Allan MacMaster says the government is currently ruling out measures for the wider population, including a cut to gasoline taxes.

MacMaster said following a cabinet meeting Thursday that relief will be coming “soon” for people on income assistance and those with lower incomes, building on a package that was announced in March.

That $13.2-million package included a one-time payment of$150 to people on income assistance and to those eligible to receive the province’s heating assistance rebate among other measures.

In ruling out a cut in gas taxes, which are made up of an excise tax and the HST, MacMaster says they provide needed revenue that goes to improve the province’s roads and highways.

Gas prices in the province are well over $2 a litre while the inflation rate as of last month sits at 7.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

“People who have higher incomes … are more equipped to deal with it (inflation) than people at the lowest income levels, so our focus right now is on people at the lowest income levels,” MacMaster said.

He said a province like Alberta, which recently suspended its tax on gas, has the advantage of getting royalties from the oil and gas it produces.

“They have a much greater ability to help people right now than we do here in Nova Scotia,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2022.

The Canadian Press