Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Taxes and Tax Cuts'

Liberal election platform shifts the chips for the rich, takes a pass on the middle class

May 5th, 2015 · · Federal Election, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Yesterday the Liberals released a portion of their platform for the upcoming federal election. While I’m happy to see some overlap with our Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), I’m puzzled by the Liberals’ proposed tax changes, which basically just move tax money around in the top 20% of households without doing anything substantial for every politico’s favourite demographic, the “middle class.”

Don’t get me wrong: we love when politicians take ideas from the AFB. But we’ve got much more effective ways of spending the $3 billion raised through a new tax on the richest families rather than giving a tax break to the next richest families. Let me break it down.

older updates 2 CommentsTags: ··

Lost and found: What budget language says about government priorities

April 23rd, 2015 · · Federal Budget

searchlight_leftThere’s already a ton of good analysis around the 2015 Federal Budget. Critics’ consensus? This budget is short-sighted, misleading and full of vote-buying measures that do little to address Canada’s real challenges.

The policies and measures contained in the budget say a lot about the current government’s priorities—budgets always do. But the language they use, independent of the policies themselves, says just as much about what this government really values.

older updates 2 CommentsTags: ·····

The TFSA Shouldn’t Be Scrapped, It Should Be Fixed: Budget 2015

April 20th, 2015 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Federal Budget, Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Today The Globe and Mail Report on Business published 5 economists’ thoughts on what tomorrow’s federal budget could and should do.

I chose to focus on a measure that is virtually guaranteed to be in the budget, because the federal government has promised to do it since the last federal election in April 2011: double the annual contribution limits to the Tax Free Savings Account.

I thought it was bad policy in 2011. It’s even less of an excusable policy direction now. It doesn’t even do what the feds say it does.

older updates 1 CommentTags: ···

Doubling contribution limit to Tax-Free Savings Accounts exposes true intent of a bad policy

April 16th, 2015 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Last week, federal finance minister Joe Oliver re-affirmed that his government seeks to double the annual contribution limit to Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), from $5,500 to $11,000.

This is a terrible idea.

When the TFSA was first introduced, the claim at the time was that the policy was intended to support modest income people wanting to save for retirement, but for whom the RRSP may not make good economic sense. There was some merit to this argument, although boosting the CPP and Old Age Security (OAS) would have been a far preferable solution.

older updates No CommentsTags: ···

Alternative Federal Budget vs. Income Splitting: Who benefits?

March 30th, 2015 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Federal Budget, Taxes and Tax Cuts

On March 19th, we released the 2015 Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) and also marked the publication’s 20th anniversary. Like every year, the AFB includes practical measures to improve Canadian’s lives. For the past two years, we’ve been running our AFB through a sophisticated income inequality simulation to see how our budget would affect poverty and inequality in Canada. This analysis allows us to see who benefits and who doesn’t from various social programs and tax/transfer changes.

older updates 3 CommentsTags: ···

The high cost of eliminating the deficit

March 23rd, 2015 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Poverty and Income Inequality

AFB2015_familyCanada’s federal government ran a deficit for nearly thirty years – from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. Successive Conservative and Liberal governments delivered programs, implemented economic and fiscal policies, and ran the country, without balancing the budget. The sky did not fall. The fabric of Canadian society did not unravel. Nobody fell off a fiscal cliff.

Where did the obsessive concern with a balanced federal budget come from and how did it gain such currency in the popular imagination?

older updates 2 CommentsTags: ·····

Alberta has nation’s largest gender gap and it’s growing

March 6th, 2015 · · Alberta, Child Care, Economy & Economic Indicators, Gender Equality, Poverty and Income Inequality

In 1995, Canada made historic commitments to implement gender equality in all policies, programs, and laws when it adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. That same year saw the adoption in Canada of The Federal Plan for Gender Equality to secure gender equality in all aspects of social, political, legal, and economic life in Canada.

A new Parkland Institute report demonstrates that women in Alberta, who were early leaders in moving toward greater sex equality, had already begun losing ground relative to men for some years by the time these commitments were made in the mid-1990s.

older updates No CommentsTags: ······

Doubling TFSA Contributions Limits: Even Nastier than Income Splitting

March 2nd, 2015 · · Canada, Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

The Harper government gives five reasons why Canadians ought to be happy with its proposal to double the maximum contribution to the Tax-Free Savings Account. Examine each of its points more closely, however, and it’s clear that the TFSA carries far higher risks than rewards — for individual Canadians  as well as for the economy as a whole.

Let’s unpack the government’s arguments one by one:

older updates 1 CommentTags: ··

Small business tax cuts in Canada: been there, done that

January 29th, 2015 · · Canada, Taxes and Tax Cuts

In the prelude to the 2015 federal election, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is talking job creation in Southwestern Ontario.

He’s promising more small business tax cuts and credits as his entry point. It’s the political norm these days to promote low business taxes, but the reality is small business tax cuts are already old hat. Here’s why:

About a year ago, Canada’s Department of Finance released a report outlining the changes in effective tax rates for small businesses, or Canadian controlled private corporations (CCPCs) as they are called in tax language, between 2000 and 2011.

older updates No CommentsTags: ·

Municipal headache

January 29th, 2015 · · Cities, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Municipal taxes. Their mere mention is enough to cause headaches for some. Throughout the year, we nearly forget that we help finance our own town or city. Then the tax bill pops up in our mailbox, and we open it with trembling hands, wondering about the magnitude of this year’s hike. This letter can put an end to many households’ home-owning project, mainly elderly and young families. Wages rarely follow the staggering rise in the price of real estate.

older updates No CommentsTags: ·