Common Front for Social Justice

January 30, 2009

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Yesterday's announcement by Premier Shawn Graham that income taxes from individuals and corporations will be cut by 100 million dollars next year is not consistent with the present plan aiming at reducing poverty in the province, according to the Common Front for Social Justice.

The timing is certainly not right to reduce taxes since the Poverty Reduction Plan, which is being developed, would normally require more revenues to offer better services.

In her speech during the Second Summit on Poverty, held in Moncton last fall, Mary Schryer, the minister of Social Development, led to believe that new money would need to be invested in housing, day care, literacy and job creation if the province is to be successful in reducing the poverty rate which is 13.8 % at the present time.

While agreeing with Minister Schryer, the Common Front believes that two more measures should be added, i.e. extending the medical card to all those at minimum wage and raising social assistance rates to the average levels in Atlantic.

Based on figures released by the National Council of Welfare, the Common Front says that it will cost over 19.6 million dollars more per year for the province to raise its social assistance rates for four categories (single employable, person with disability, lone parent with one child and couple with two children) to the Atlantic average. How then can the province expect to reduce the income taxes by 100 million?

The Common Front would like to remind the government that the social assistance benefits are directly injected in the economy in terms of purchase of consumer goods and services.

In revealing its Charter for Change announced in 2006, Premier Graham stated that a liberal government would reexamine the social assistance rates in view of bringing them at the Atlantic average level.

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For information:
Linda McCaustlin: 855-7046
Jean-Claude Basque: 862-9182