Loose change

If the Campbell administration didn't introduce the harmonized sales tax, it would be turning aside $1.6 billion in transition funding from the federal government. This, at a time when the province's books are in the red. So what would the tax-opposing provincial New Democrats do to replace that one-time funding if they were in government? For starters, Opposition House Leader Mike Farnworth said retaining the province's corporation capital tax and eliminating oil and gas industry subsidies - two promises his party made during the election - would earn the government approximately $200 million extra each year.

"They're sizable pieces of revenue," he said yesterday on Public Eye Radio. "And, along with that, we've said we'd have a review of government spending that ensures we're getting the best value for the public dollar and not giving away money just for the sake of government ideological objectives. And we also said, in our budget, that we would have had a slightly larger deficit because we were clear that healthcare and education do need to be protected. And that was a key part of our platform during the election campaign."

"What we have to do is develop a fiscal plan prior to the next election," he continued. "That's four years away. An awful lot happens over the next four years. We're dealing with the here and now. And that's what most people are concerned about - the attempts by this government to put in place a HST for which they have no mandate, for which they misled the public and did not tell the truth about prior to the last election."

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