I am one of the vulnerable affected by the partial Budget of 2016. I see nothing ahead for any of us.
My husband and I, both disabled, live on — or maybe subsist is the better word — less than $10,000 per year. We do not smoke or drink. I am in a wheelchair.
We live in a very modest one-bedroom home and heat only one room in our home in winter in order to survive. To do this, we rely on GST/HST rebates as well as the annual home heating rebate. Since the HST and home heating rebates have now been cancelled, we may not have even that luxury next winter.
Also affecting our ability to have heat next winter will be the array of raised fees and higher taxes, most notably the gasoline tax of 16.5 cents to take effect June 2. Although we do not own a vehicle, this 16.5 cent per litre tax increase will increase how much we pay to get to and from Carbonear (15-20 km away) to see our doctor, pay bills and get groceries. Since we cannot afford our own vehicle, we have to pay a taxi at least $1 per kilometre each way if we cannot hire a neighbour for $25-$30.
Groceries themselves will increase greatly to cover this additional government-gouging tax on gas. Everyone from farmers, to manufacturers, to shipping companies — grocers will have to incur increases because of this gas tax. They will pass on the increased costs right down to that quart of milk, or a dozen eggs, to you and me, the consumer.
Increased vehicle registration too, no doubt, will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher cost on foods, as will the additional 2 percent HST, which also gets added to everything we buy or use, including gas and taxable groceries. Much like every other increase ultimately passed down the food chain, so too will these increases be passed on to you and me in the form of increased prices on everything, including groceries, higher costs to pay someone to take me to Carbonear to pay bills, see my doctor and buy groceries.
Now you might say, what about that new Income Supplement, won’t that help? It might help some but when you look at and weigh in other factors mentioned above as well as the shut down of other programs, I see very little to no change at all. In fact I estimate, based on other figures I’ve seen (on CBC, for one) that my husband and I will see our buying ability drop by about $1,000 to $1,500 annually.
The Liberal Government’s budget will not see us merely ‘falling through the cracks’ — it will be the hand that pushes us through the cracks.
Wanda White / Broad Cove
If you would like to share your story about how the provincial government’s austerity budget will affect you and/or your family, send your letter to [email protected]
Read The Independent’s ongoing coverage of austerity and the 2016 budget:
- An Open Letter to Cathy Bennett Concerning Anxiety (Letter)
- History repeats itself… (Letter)
- Dear Minister Kirby, where is my stronger tomorrow? (Letter)
- “Dear people of Newfoundland and Labrador…” (Letter)
- The Labrador Problem (Opinion)
- A budget for the rich, by the rich (Opinion)
- Open letter to Premier, Cabinet Ministers & all MHAs (Letter)
- Solidarity and paying my dues (Opinion)
- Austerity hurts women, so we must shape our response accordingly (Opinion)
- Residents take anti-austerity fight to streets of St. John’s (News)
- Liberals’ austerity budget will hit most vulnerable hardest (News)
- Budget 2016 provides little hope for the future (Letter)
- Budget 2016 “an attack on families” (Letter)
- Government “definitely does have a choice” in NL Budget 2016: economist (News)
- As the wave breaks: NL budget 2016 (Opinion)
- Is there a democratic alternative to austerity? (Opinion)
- Deficit crisis a chance for change (Opinion)
- Not “Our” Crisis (Opinion)