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
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 remarks are excerpted from the 2014 Alternative Federal Budget press conference, featuring Armine Yalnizyan, David Macdonald and Bruce Campbell (February 5th, Parliament Hill).
This year is our 19th Alternative Federal Budget (AFB).
From the beginning, we’ve developed a rigorous economic and fiscal framework for our Budget; and we have acquired an enviable reputation for more accurately forecasting fiscal balances than the Department of Finance. Organizers of a recent international conference in Berlin recently called our alternative budget the leading example of its kind in the world. Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page has praised it, as have many academic economists. ...Read more
Tags: Alternative Federal Budget·Economy & Economic Indicators·Federal Budget·Income Inequality·Poverty and Income Inequality·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
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
(Apologies if others have commented on this previously.)
The 2011 Tax Expenditures report by the federal Department of Finance includes an analysis of the progressivity of the federal personal income tax system.
What I find striking is just how weak the federal personal income tax is as a tool for shifting income from the affluent to the less affluent.
Table 8 shows that the top 20% of taxpayers have 54.2% of pre tax income, and 50.6% of after tax income. Meanwhile, the bottom 40% have 9.7% of before tax income and 12.0% of after tax income. So, in and of itself there is not a lot of redistribution going on despite the fact that the effective tax rate does increase somewhat in line with rising income. ...Read more
Tags: Taxes and Tax Cuts