The failure to index tax brackets is unjust and threatens Nova Scotia’s growth

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  • The Houston government has been unrestrained in its spending.

    No kidding. Houston is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.


    Reminds me of people who serve on Boards who are cheapskates with their own money but spend like it’s a monopoly game when funds are not coming out of their own pockets.

    Thanks for once again raising an important subject. The number of journalists or op-ed writers who have the interest or ability to tackle financial or economic issues is severely limited.

    Mike Gushue | September 25, 2023 | Reply

  • Great article and illustration re tax rates in NS.

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe many people here even understand what it means, and that is exactly what the Houston government wants. It’s been broached many times in the past but never seems to gain any traction.

    With the longest cancer treatment wait times in Canada, etc., etc., Houston deflects the issue time and again

    Another fact few know about, and probably even fewer care about, is NS has highest probate costs in Canada!

    Nova Scotianers, at least in my 66 years of experience, have been, and continue to be, cheated at every turn.

    I’ve been very fortunate financially in my life, and my boys are doing fairly well, but I wonder how my grandchildren will fare.

    Anyway, thanks for trying to make people aware of this!

    Rick Widgery | September 24, 2023 | Reply

  • I appreciated your opinion piece in today’s paper. I have written twice now to government regarding indexing. Below is a copy of my latest email to government.

    Each time, I have never received any response from either the government or any MLA that I copied on the email.

    I will keep trying however it appears this government is using inflation as a way to increase taxes without saying they have increased taxes. As you point out, it will become or is currently a deterrent to those who might plan to move to NS. My daughter and son-in-law (nurse and paramedic) live and work in Ontario. They certainly look at the tax system in NS and definitely see it as as one of the factors in not moving back to Nova Scotia.

    Vivian Jennings | September 24, 2023 | Reply

  • I’ve been surprised the NS governments over the years have managed to stick with the higher income tax rates…I’ve come to think it may be in part that they (a) just need the money; (b) see the growing sentiment that the world generally may need to tax the uber rich more so feel less pressure about the disparity (and yes, I realize the bracket creep hurts lots of struggling folks too/more); and (c ) with such motivated immigration (international and domestic) (and our irreplaceable beaches, etc!) there is likely little worry about the taxes leading to harmful emigration due to taxes (although I definitely take your point about attracting physicians and such).

    But the reason for my email: I know it’s hard to resist, when so many others stoop to it, to exaggerate or twist numbers; but I’d avoid it, as it detracts from the persuasiveness. I found off-putting to see the subtle (false) suggestion in your examples today that the employees would actually make less despite working harder to earn more (e.g. Alice earning $2,000 more but after the unfair taxes increase by double (the %) she’d obviously be left “to struggle from even further behind” (despite the fact that she would of course still be significant further ahead after actually netting $1,750+ more from the salary increase after taxes). Yes some (many?) readers taking your commentary at face value will rant to their friends about the nasty government making it not worth working harder because you’ll actually make less due to the punitive unfair taxes that exceed any salary increase (already something we unfortunately hear trotted out by some as an disincentive to bother working harder) but, well that would all be quite false, wouldn’t it?

    Please keep up all the usual good work for good, though, and thanks for it.

    Wayne Howatt | September 23, 2023 | Reply

    • Thanks Wayne. First to acknowledge a mistake. The BC difference I show for Bob is wrong. It should be $4.037.
      As for the wording, Alice’s purchasing power is reduced if the taxes on her inflation-matching increase grow at a higher rate than the increase. The after taxes income in 2023 would buy less food and shelter in 2023 than she had in 2022.
      Maybe I could have worded it more clearly.


      Bill | September 23, 2023 | Reply

  • Excellent article in Herald. Well done.

    Kevin MacDonald | September 23, 2023 | Reply

  • One small part of my job is to work with a team at the end of the year to update out pension payroll system for tax changes, including indexation of tax brackets. I always wondered why Nova Scotia didn’t update theirs. Thanks for providing this context!

    Michelle Power | September 23, 2023 | Reply

  • An excellent review of the tax problem for lower-wage earners.

    This should be extended to reintroduce a progressive income tax regime along all sectors.

    Income earners over $150,000 are benefitting beyond their contributions to the common wealth.

    Thanks for opinions.

    Wayne Armitstead | September 23, 2023 | Reply