taxes

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A policy issue that permeated political debates around the world in 2012 was the idea of raising taxes on high-income earners. In the U.S., it stood front and centre in President Obama’s re-election. Several governments in Europe went beyond debate and introduced higher tax rates. Here at home, higher taxes on upper-income earners have been proposed at the federal and many provincial levels; Ontario’s government recently instituted a new tax on those earning more than $500,000.


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Question: Have you ever felt annoyed at a restaurant when your bill arrived with a mandated tip, thus removing your (monetary) ability to comment on the service? If so, that's about how governments act vis-à-vis travel costs for Canadians, this when governments prevent full competition which would reduce prices.

For example, consider a trip the average Canadian family might take this holiday season.


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Last month, British Columbia’s Expert Panel on Business Taxation delivered its much anticipated final report (at least among us policy wonks). Unfortunately, the report garnered little media attention and failed to spark much debate about BC’s tax competitiveness.

The Expert Panel was appointed early this year by then-Finance Minister Kevin Falcon; it was made up of a cross-section of people from business, academia, and government to provide recommendations on how BC’s business taxes could be made more competitive given the return of the PST in 2013.


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When the PST rears its ugly head on April 1, 2013, British Columbia’s tax competitiveness will be dealt a major blow as the cost of the investing in the province increases dramatically. Unfortunately, the well-being of BC families will be negatively affected in many ways – none more important than the adverse impact the PST will have on investment in machinery, equipment, and technology – the backbone of a healthy economy.


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Shortly before unveiling the provincial budget in March, Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand told reporters that the average family pays enough taxes in Quebec. We couldn’t agree more. This year Quebecers have to wait until June 17 (nearly six months) to celebrate Tax Freedom Day. That is, if the average family in Quebec had to pay all the taxes it owed to all levels of government in advance, they would have to hand-over every single dollar they earned up to June 17—Tax Freedom Day.


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If you’ve ever tried to calculate all the taxes you pay in a year to all levels of government, you’ve probably given up somewhere along the way. While most of us can easily decipher how much income tax we pay – it’s right there on our tax returns – it’s a lot more difficult to gauge how much we pay in not-so-obvious taxes.


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Sitting down with my morning cup of coffee and Saturday's National Post, I was delighted to read Andrew Coyne's scathing criticism of the federal Conservatives' record in office, based on comments he was to make at this year's Manning Networking Conference (Is there a conservative in the House?, March 10).

Where has conservatism gone? Coyne asked. Unfortunately, Post readers didn't have to look far for the answer - the adjacent page to be precise.

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With Labour Day just around the corner and British Columbia's unemployment rate at 7.3 per cent, Premier Christy Clark's promise of a jobs agenda is welcome news. Unfortunately, her actions haven't backed up her words.