Pubdate: Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Source: Lethbridge Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 The Lethbridge Herald
Author: Dave Mabell
Page: A3


Tax income from soon-to-be-legal marijuana is forecast at $615
million. But it could bring in much more, a Lethbridge business
audience heard Wednesday.

And while the federal government will collect the new tax, 75 per cent
of it will go to provincial governments to help communities with
implementation costs.

That was one of just a handful of new or hiked consumer taxes included
in the federal government's budget, highlighted in a breakfast
presentation by experts from KPMG.

Ebony Verbonac, a partner in the business services organization's
Lethbridge office, said the budget pegged the federal excise tax at $1
per gram. But the tax would not be collected on cannabis products
obtained by a medical prescription, KPMG analysts note, or on packaged
products with concentrations of no more than 0.3 per cent THC, the
active ingredient.

Tax dollars sent to the provinces, Verbonac said, will likely support
police officer training and test equipment purchases, as well as
public awareness initiatives.

A much older tax, on cigarettes and tobacco, is also rising. The
budget showed the excise tax is rising from about $2.69 to $2.98 on a

In future, said Finance Minister Bill Morneau, those prices will
advance every April 1 as an "inflationary adjustment."

While business leaders call for lower taxes, Lethbridge KPMG branch
manager Ryan Stevenson pointed out ordinary Canadians are already
covering half the nation's expenses through their personal income taxes

Goods and Services Tax paid by consumers and businesses comes next -
close to the amount actually collected through corporate taxes -
followed by Employment Insurance premiums revenue.

With the federal debt rising, he said the government will be paying
about $24.4 billion in debt servicing costs - about 7.7 per cent of
its budget. By comparison, Stevenson said Alberta's government will be
putting aside 2.5 per cent of its budget to cover a $1.4-billion debt.

He said Canada's net debt, compared to gross domestic product, remains
lower than most developed nations.

Rather than increasing taxes, he pointed out, the federal government
is counting on continued economic growth to generate the revenues it
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