WHITEHORSE – Today the carbon tax in Yukon will increase by 50%.
“At a time when many Yukoners and Yukon businesses are being hit hard by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 we should be deferring tax increases until next year so that people can weather this storm,” said Stacey Hassard Official Opposition Leader. “We know the GST is taxed on top of the carbon tax and Yukoners are not getting everything back, so let’s allow families and businesses to keep this money for the time being so that Yukon’s business community can make it through the pandemic.”
Yesterday the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce issued a press release indicating that 88% of Yukon businesses will see a negative impact from COVID-19. Almost half of businesses were unsure whether or not they would weather this economic downturn. The release also stated that businesses had lost over $3.1 million in March and are expecting to lose another $2.6 million in April.
This follows a statement from Tourism Industry Association of Yukon last month that stated they were expecting a $60 million downturn to the tourism industry. Additionally, over the last several weeks the downturn has caused hundreds of layoffs and closures.
The carbon tax will also increase the costs of shipping essential goods and groceries up the highway.
“Now is not the time to make Yukoners pay more. People are struggling and they cannot afford to wait for a rebate check to arrive sometime next year,” added Hassard. “We are calling on the government to delay the increase of the carbon tax so that Yukoners are able to get by during this difficult time.”
Since the beginning of this crisis the Official Opposition has tried to work collaboratively and constructively with the government. Unfortunately, the Liberal government used their majority to shut down the creation of an All-Party Committee to study and make recommendations to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. Further, the government continues to cut opposition parties out of regular briefings on COVID-19 and also continues to refuse to share daily situation reports. Now is the time to put partisanship aside and for all parties to work together. The Yukon Party will continue to try and work constructively with the government and hopes the Liberals rethink their approach of cutting out the opposition.