Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Taxes and Tax Cuts'

Don’t throw taxes under the bus

April 15th, 2014 · · Ontario, public services, Taxes and Tax Cuts

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.

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A Budget that Builds a Nova Scotian Economy for the People

March 26th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Income Inequality, Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, Taxes and Tax Cuts

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.

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The political fight for Ontario’s middle class

March 20th, 2014 · · Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

“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.

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A Toxic Mix: Minimum wage and business tax cuts

February 26th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario, 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.

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Hypothetical prosperity, fees guaranteed

February 21st, 2014 · · public services, Quebec, 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.”

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We’re Splitsville on Income Splitting…Now What?

February 14th, 2014 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Child Care, Satire, Taxes and Tax Cuts, Uncategorized

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.

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Will income-splitting’s politics trump its lousy economics?

February 14th, 2014 · · Poverty and Income Inequality, 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.

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Missing In Action: Federal Budget 2014

February 11th, 2014 · · Federal Budget, public services, 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

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The uncomfortable truth behind deficit politics

February 10th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Ontario, public services, Taxes and Tax Cuts

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.

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PotashCorp Projects Low Royalties

February 1st, 2014 · · Saskatchewan, 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.

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