Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: November 2007

November 8, 2007

Harper not fiscally responsible, yet tax cuts only for show

In response to the recent announcement on budget surplus and tax cuts by the federal government, I've written the following as a letter to the editor. I grabbed a few points from comments and articles on the internet over the last week. This was printed in at least one local paper, and you may use it or modify it as you see fit.

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Letter to the Editor: Harper not fiscally responsible, yet tax cuts only for show

For years the Conservatives condemned Liberal surpluses as phony surprises. The irony of Harper bringing in a surprise surplus is not lost on me.

I don't disagree with the cuts to income tax and corporate taxes. I actually support a tax shift – reducing income and business taxes while phasing in a carbon tax to replace lost revenue. Most economist agree with this approach.

Unfortunately this ‘surprise surplus’ means that social and environmental priorities, like fighting poverty and homelessness, or meeting the challenge of climate change, have been left off the table by deliberate understatement of available surpluses. That money could fund capital projects such as social housing or transportation infrastructure.

One reason Harper cut taxes is to cut social services, to which his party is ideologically opposed. Harper also doesn’t seem to mind the infrastructure deficit worsening in Canada. The country-wide municipal infrastructure deficit has now grown to about $100 billion.

I keep hearing that the Harper government is offering handouts and tax giveaways (hardly a fiscally responsible practice) but all I’ve noticed is my child tax benefit, much of which will be taxed back by the government. The income trust flip flop was a major campaign promise that Harper didn’t make good on. No tax break there. This federal income tax cut offers savings per taxpayer at about $35. This is only for show.

Lastly, announcing a GST cut before shopping season is going to create purchasing doubt in shoppers minds. Couple that with the strong Canadian dollar and Mr Flaherty’s call for retailers to lower prices, and you have shoppers holding out for better deals.

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Tip: When sending letters to the editor, always include you full name, phone number and address so the papers can verify that you're a real person.