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
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
The following commentary was quoted on page D1 of yesterday’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post:
Thursday’s fourth-quarter report indicates that PotashCorp paid “provincial mining and other taxes” of $194 million on potash sales of $3 billion in 2013. In other words, Saskatchewan’s resource surcharge and potash production tax amounted to just 6.5% of the value of potash sold.
Adding the basic Crown royalty (which PotashCorp includes in “cost of goods sold”) and subtracting New Brunswick potash suggests that Saskatchewan is collecting no more than a dime per dollar of potash extracted from the province. ...Read more
Tags: Saskatchewan·Taxes and Tax Cuts
When it comes to parenting, everyone’s an expert. And society loves to jump all over the latest media-feted example of overly indulgent parenting of kids of all ages—from toddlers to millennials.
Sure, all parents make mistakes, and all kids have meltdowns (some of which might have, admittedly, been handled better).
But it seems to me that even the worst examples of permissive parenting pale in comparison to the way politicians and pundits coddle, make excuses, and encourage double standards for questionable (even deplorable) behaviour from corporations and their representatives. ...Read more
Tags: Capitalism·Corporate Taxes·satire·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Alex Himelfarb has had an impressive career in public service. A former professor, author and diplomat, he is probably best known for his service as clerk of the Privy Council for Jean Chretien, Paul Martin, and, briefly, Stephen Harper.
His most recent accomplishment is “Tax is Not a Four Letter Word”, a collection of essays by various authors including the CCPA’s Trish Hennessy, Jim Stanford and Hugh Mackenzie. Alex co-edited the book with his son Jordan, Opinion Editor for the Toronto Star.
The CCPA Ontario’s Jennifer Story recently interviewed Alex about the book, and his desire to get Canadians thinking differently about taxes. ...Read more
Tags: Public Services·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Tom Mulcair’s recently reiterated unwillingness to raise personal tax rates puts the spotlight on corporate taxes. But how much revenue is at stake?
Three and a half years ago, I posted a fiscal breakdown of Harper’s corporate tax cuts and how much revenue could be retained by stopping or reversing them. These figures, based on Budget 2009 projections, suggested that a point of general corporate tax would be worth between $1.9 billion and $2 billion today.
Budget 2009 envisioned a sharp, V-shaped recovery balancing the federal books in the current fiscal year (2013-14). Obviously, the economy, corporate profits and tax revenues have proven less buoyant than forecast. ...Read more
Tags: Corporate Tax Cuts·Federal Budget
There is a nice little story tucked in to the pages of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2013. It’s a sweet tale of Thomas and Colleen and their two children. (I like to imagine those little stick-figure stickers on the back of their mini-van waving hello to their friends in happy economic-action-plan-land). This story is called “Canadian families keep more of their hard-earned dollars as a result of the government’s actions to reduce the tax burden.”
Tags: Federal Budget·Gender Equality·Taxes and Tax Cuts