Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am sharing with you the response I received from the NDP Education Critic, Ms. Lorraine Michael, in response to our Open Letter regarding the 10% tax on books in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is comforting to know that our voice was heard and that others share in our concerns.
From: Michael, Lorraine A [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 5:01 PM
To: Suzanne van den Hoogen
Cc: [log in to unmask]; Graham, Jean
Subject: NL 10% tax on books
Dear Ms. Van den Hoogen,
Thank you so much for copying me as an MHA on the letter you sent to Premier Dwight Ball on behalf of the Atlantic Provinces Library Association asking the NL government to revoke this regressive tax.
As you are aware the NL NDP have also been calling for this action.
Yesterday, Jan. 24, our caucus took part in an event with the NDP MUN at Memorial University supporting the demand of students for this tax to be dropped. We estimate that approximately $1M of the money's the government hopes to gain will be on the backs of post-secondary students.
I shall send you our release from yesterday under separate cover.
We also have a petition on line that we shall be putting forward in the House of Assembly on Feb. 27, the day the House opens for the spring sitting.
We are one with you in this struggle.
Lorraine Michael, MHA
St. John's East-Quidi Vidi
NDP Education Critic
For immediate release
Jan. 24, 2017
Million Dollar Tax on Students unfair, must be reversed: McCurdy
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says the Liberal Book Tax, which came into effect January 1, making this province the only one in the country to tax book sales, is unfairly targeting a group of people who can least afford to pay it.
The tax is expected to raise $2 million for a government cash-strapped by a massive hydro project. McCurdy says half of that tax – more than a million dollars – will come from post-secondary students who are often required to purchase expensive textbooks.
“This is the worst kind of regressive tax,” McCurdy said today at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus, where he was taking part in an event organized by MUN NDP to oppose the tax. “It targets students who are working hard to get education which will allow them to contribute in many ways to this province.
“Government must reverse this harmful decision.”
There are about 12,000 full-time undergraduate students at Memorial University. A full-time student is one who is taking at least three courses. MUN advises students to budget $150 to $200 per course for books and supplies. Even allowing just the minimum 3 courses per student, and the minimum $150 per course, says McCurdy, the tax would total almost $1.1 million for a year of studies.
“And that doesn’t include part-time students, graduate students and all the post-secondary students at other institutions, including College of the North Atlantic, where there are thousands more.”
This is Family Literacy Week in Canada; McCurdy noted the irony. “This government says literacy is a priority,” he said. “But its actions say something quite different. First the Liberals tried to close half the province’s libraries. Now the attack on literacy continues with a regressive tax, half of which will be paid by post-secondary students.”
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