Think-tank tells Nova Scotia to make tax bracket for high-income earners permanent

HALIFAX – The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is recommending a series of tax measures — including making a temporary tax bracket for high-income earners permanent — ahead of the Nova Scotia budget next week.

In its alternative budget released Monday, the think-thank is urging the provincial government to introduce tax reforms that it says would boost revenues.

One such measure it is recommending is making the temporary tax bracket for those earning more than $150,000 permanent.

In its 2010-2011 budget, Nova Scotia introduced a tax of 21 per cent on people earning more than $150,000. But the government said it would repeal that once the books are balanced, and the government has promised to table a balanced budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The centre says revenues from that tax bracket were estimated to hit $60.6 million this fiscal year.

“Most Canadians support a tax system which is progressive, with the tax level rising as income rises,” the centre says.

The group says it would like to see the tax rate raised for the top two brackets — by one percentage point to 18.5 per cent for those with incomes between $93,000 and $149,999, and by two percentage points to 23 per cent for those making $150,000 and over.

The centre said the changes would result in a fairer tax system.

“Indeed, most of the income gains have been to the top one per cent while their taxes have been falling as a proportion of their incomes.”

It says the government should also shift tax deductions to tax credits and fully tax capital gains.

Implementing those measures while dropping others such as the energy rebate and sports and recreation tax credit would generate nearly $450 million in revenue for the province, the centre said.

The government will deliver its budget on April 4.