Today’s headline in the Toronto Star — “Ontario businesses looking for balanced budget, tax cuts” reminds us yet again that, when it comes to taxes, budgets and public services, those who claim to be our leaders look at the world in a way that would embarrass a six-year-old. It is still time for an adult conversation about taxes and public services, prompting a republishing of the piece I wrote in 2009 that I hoped might get the conversation started.
Time for an adult conversation about public services and taxes
At the risk of insulting a generation of four-year-olds, it’s time we had an adult conversation in Canada about taxes and public services.
Most four-year olds have figured out that when you go to the store to get something you want, you have to be prepared to pay for it.
Yet Canada’s political leaders and business interest lobbyists would rather spit nickels than admit this basic fact.
It’s a problem with all political leaders and parties – not just those I disagree with…
Read more at The Hill Times. The article is also available on the CCPA website.
Interview about the Toronto city budget, with HEADSPACE, went live today. A couple of key take-aways…
On Rob Ford’s elimination of the Vehicle Registration Tax:
“… Ford was right that the tax discriminated against suburbanites versus those living downtown, as there are probably a lot more people in the centre of the city surviving without a car. If you’re going to use the tax system to discourage car travel, it makes infinitely more sense to base a tax on use rather than ownership… If you don’t improve public transit but just levy charges, then all you’re doing is angering people. That was the major issue with the vehicle registration tax…”
On Toronto “living within its means”:
“… the government’s means consist of what citizens are prepared to pay for the services they’re provided. A city’s means aren’t fixed. A government’s means are determined politically, just as government expenses are determined politically. To say that the City should ‘live within its means’ is to say nothing whatsoever. It only masks an argument for less services…”
On Ford’s decision to freeze property taxes:
“I think it’s crazy.”
Also discussed: negativity in tax discourse, elimination of extraneous expenses from the Toronto budget.
[These types of posts could also be used to expand on something that came up in the interview but you weren’t able to go into.]