Today, the provincial tax on gasoline has doubled from 16.5 to 33 cents per litre. That translates to an extra 21 cents per litre, and the fallout of that will mean more than simply paying extra at the pumps.
Significantly higher gas tax will affect more than your wallet, including cab fares and food costs, and by lowering the amount of excess spending cash we’ll have as a result, this will affect the economy itself – the extra money we now spend on gas, taxis, food costs, etc, is money we used to put back into local businesses like restaurants and retailers. A perfect example of how austerity stagnates economies.
Given that we townies live in a city with laughable means of public transit and steep hills, most of us drive, so most of us will feel this punch in the wallet. And for those in St. John’s who don’t drive, taxi fares and the costs of other means of public transportation will certainly have to go up on account of this.
But consider those living around the bay. With services and amenities so scattered, they’re dependent on their vehicles to get them to work, doctor appointments, supermarkets, etc. And now, with closures and relocations of things like rural libraries, employers, healthcare services, and governmental departments, those living in rural areas will now have to drive more than ever in a time when gas prices are way up.
Not only are we an island, we’re a big island, and the cost of getting foods and other goods around Newfoundland & Labrador has to go up in response to increased gas costs. This includes the operating costs of things as varied as ambulances to clothing retailers.
As we all witnessed this winter in the produce aisles at grocery stores, the increased costs of retailers doing business will be passed along to their consumers. Strawberries at $1 a pop anyone?
If you’re feeling like attending another protest, join Coordinated Approach NL today, 5:45, at The Arts & Culture Centre. You’ll march from there to the COnfederation Building. “This is an opportunity,” they say, “to come out and speak against this regressive tax, as well as the frankly pathetic attempt to shake every last cent out of the pockets of the citizens of this province.”
Those unable to attend are also invited to participate in a symbolic, one day boycott of the purchase of gas. “While the gas tax has already been voted into effect, the government is depending on our complacency and learned helplessness to allow this budget and plan to continue. You have a voice. Tell your government that taxation without actual representation is tyranny. Tell your representatives to #LISTEN.”