As Ontario inches toward a potential spring election showdown, Premier Kathleen Wynne is making clear that she wants public transit to become the ballot box question.
That’s heartening, because there is majority public support for greater transit investments after too many years of political and traffic gridlock.
But it looks like she’s throwing needed new taxes under the bus in the process.
In her most recent announcement, Wynne committed to $29 billion in transit and transportation improvements over the next 10 years. ...Read more
Tags: Ontario·Public Services·Taxes and Tax Cuts·Transit·transportation
After more than thirty years of jobless growth and growing household debt punctuated by a series of increasingly severe economic crises, September 17, 2011 marked an important turning point. On that day, “thousands of people marched on the Financial District, then formed an encampment in Zuccotti Park, launching a movement that shifted the conversation on economic inequality.” Following the emergence of “Occupy Wall St,” similar “Occupy” movements sprang up all around the world, including here in Nova Scotia. Occupy is driven by the clear sense that it is not only possible but absolutely necessary to build an economy for the people, not for corporations and the wealthy. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Income Inequality·Nova Scotia
“Middle class” is the new “working Ontario families.” Every second speech and press release here contains it now. – Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail reporter, Queen’s Park, Twitter, March 20, 2014.
With election fever mounting in Ontario, the political field is quickly crowding around the middle of the income spectrum in search of votes.
And – surprise, surprise – low taxes are dominating the list of enticements.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is insisting she’ll reject any provincial budget that includes asking Ontario’s middle class to pay more taxes or tolls. ...Read more
Tags: Middle Class·Ontario·Poverty and Income Inequality·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Yesterday, Ontario’s NDP announced an election plank: increase the minimum wage, and at the same time, cut taxes for small business.
The gist of their proposal:
a) a 33% tax cut for small businesses and
b) a 56 cent minimum wage increase over and above what the current government has already committed
I have no squabble with the minimum wage increase. Sure, I wish it were higher, as we proposed to the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel back in November. The problem comes when a wage increase is coupled with a tax cut. This sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It buys into the rhetoric that minimum wage increases are bad for business and governments need to mitigate the damage. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·minimum wage·Ontario·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Austerity has been the keyword for the past five years: initiatives decreasing spending in order to then slow down public debt growth were meant to ensure recovery after the 2008 financial crisis. We now know that it has instead hurt the economy. The Parti Québécois now contends it is turning its back on austerity and steering towards prosperity. In view of yesterday’s budget, doubts may raised over the government’s growth forecasts, but we can most certainly call into question the current budgetary direction’s benefits for the population of Quebec.
First, the government projects that increases in corporate investments will spur on growth by going up from 0.7% this year to 3.2% next year. Banking in part on this boost, the government expects a 4.2% increase in its own revenues next year. It’s hard not to see this as anything other than typical pre-electoral enthusiasm, since the Finance Minister himself acknowledges that the uncertainty facing the global economy leads to “hesitation in investments.” ...Read more
Tags: budget·debt·Quebec's budget
Well, that was awkward.
Oh, sorry—I’m not talking about how the federal government, in a remarkable display of self-satire, cut short debate on the Fair Elections Act (or as I like to call it: “Democracy 2.0: Abridged too far”).
And, tempting as it is, I’m not hinting at the recent PBO analysis that demonstrates, directly contradicting the Treasury Board’s 18 days estimate, how sick leave in the Federal public service is virtually identical to the 11 days per year that private sector workers take.
Nor am I referring to the Federal Budget’s youth internship programs that, at best, address the needs of 1% of unemployed youth. ...Read more
Tags: Alternative Federal Budget·Child Care·Income Splitting·satire·Taxes and Tax Cuts
This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.
You could hear the sound of jaws dropping across the nation this week when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in response to a question from a journalist, cast doubt on the idea of income-splitting for young families, something his party has been promising since March 28, 2011.
The idea – which would allow the higher-earning spouse to transfer income to their lower-earning spouse in order to reduce their total tax hit – provoked controversy right from the start. But it became an increasingly hard sell as economists and think tanks from across the political spectrum lined up in agreement: Income-splitting costs too much for something that is worse than doing nothing. ...Read more
Tags: Income Splitting·Poverty and Income Inequality·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Here’s the first section of the budget summary and analysis I’ve prepared for CUPE. The full version is on-line on CUPE’s website together with our press release .
Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014 CUPE Federal Budget 2014 Summary and Response
Conservatives ignore pressing economic needs with a Do-little budget
Using more of their doublespeak, the Harper government calls the 2014 federal budget “The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities.” Little could be further from the truth. Instead it’s a budget that glosses over the problems facing Canadian workers and continues to kill jobs and stifle economic growth. ‘Missing in Action’ are significant positive measures needed to improve the lives of Canadians by increasing good job opportunities, improving public services or ensuring decent retirement incomes ...Read more
Tags: Federal Budget·Government Finance
In the lead up to Budget 2014, the Wynne government is caught in a transition between two mutually exclusive messages: the doom and gloom fiscal narrative her predecessors handed her and the end of austerity narrative her government floated with its Fall 2013 economic update.
What makes the story even more complex is that, with a minority government, Wynne doesn’t have the luxury of time to set up the basis for that new narrative. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Ontario·Public Services·Taxes and Tax Cuts