MONTREAL -- Entrepreneurs and economists are criticizing the Parti Quebecois for its plan to up taxes for the rich.

Following criticism, the PQ has backpedalled on a plan to wipe out the $200 per year health tax in favour if a retroactive tax hike for those who earn at least $130,000 per year. The plan would make up for some $845 million lost in health care by abolishing the health tax.

Premier Pauline Marois now said the party will negotiate on the plan with the opposition parties.

That’s a relief for people like Robert Mullan, who started up the Safari Pet Centre chain 14 years ago in the province.

“We took $22,000 and a lot of hard work and we generated it into a multi-million dollar company,” he said.

Mullan said he’s infuriated by the tax hike to which he would be subjected.

“It was actually hard work and sweat to make that salary, so I absolutely deserve it,” he said.

Former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand said the plan doesn’t sit well with him, either.
“If you are a neurosurgeon and you gain $500,000 or $600,000 per year and you pay $200,000 in taxes, you might (pay) another $10,000, but if (you) leave, you've lost $200,000,” he said. “So you have to be careful.”

Taxing the rich doesn’t bode well for the future, said Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du Patronat

“Now we are giving them the signal (that) if you attain a certain threshold then we will really tax you the highest amount in the world,” she said, adding that studies show habits change when people are taxed more, which in the long term, can lead to less money for government.

“The way they declare their income, there are other ways to invest or to declare income, like in stocks or other kinds of vehicles… which are very legal and just maybe are less taxed than regular income,” she explained.

Mullan said it’s discouraging.

“We are already taxed way too much it's not fair,” he said. “It’s just not fair.”