Thousands of people will be hitting the road for May long weekend, and the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation (CTF) is using that to bring attention to the gas tax.
On what he’s calling “Gas Tax Honesty Day”, CTF prairie director Todd MacKay is highlighting the one-and-a-half cents a litre drivers pay at the pump in extra charges.
“On the long weekend people are filling up their tanks because they want to go and have a good time with their families. But a lot of the money they’re putting in their tank doesn’t go to pay for fuel, it goes to paying the government,” described MacKay.
“In Saskatchewan, roughly 33 per cent of the price you pay at the pump goes to the government.
“That’s money that you don’t get to spend taking your kids out for supper or out to the ball game or whatever; that’s money that goes to the government.”
McKay explained how the federal government brought in the gas tax in the mid-90s to help bring it out of deficit. However, once the budget was balanced, the tax remained. Twenty years later, it’s still in place. The tax has cost Canadians $12.6 billion over that time.
“A lot of these taxes, the one-and-a-half cent per litre deficit tax, that’s paying for deficits of 20 years ago, never mind the money we’re borrowing today.”
Both the Ottawa and Saskatchewan will be running deficits this year. MacKay simply calls it a delayed tax and says it’s one you end up paying for decades.
“We’ve got to get smarter with our money at the government level because you get to pay for it over and over again in many different places and every time you fill up your car you’re paying again,” he said.
The average price of gas on Thursday was 93 cents per litre in Regina and 95 cents per litre in Saskatoon.