Earn $17,787 in Alberta and you'll pay nothing in provincial income tax. Earn $50,000 and 6.4 per cent of your income is tax ($50,000 minus the $17,787 exemption; the 10 per cent tax is paid on the remaining $32,213). Earn $100,000 and 8.2 per cent of your income is tax. There's a word for such sliding proportions of tax paid: progressive.
There are a wild variety of employment expense claims that tax-filers make. Dry cleaning and teeth-whitening for on-air performers? Doesn't fly. My favourite may be the repairman whose employer demanded a bi-weekly haircut. He took his case to Tax Court, and lost. But it definitely showed determination.
Once again, Calgary city council has raised property taxes beyond the rate of inflation. No surprise. Over the past seven years, only once, in 2007, has council approved a tax increase below Calgary's inflation rate. The latest hike, 4.5 per cent in residential property taxes for 2015, is triple the average annual Statistics Canada inflation rate for the 2010-2014 period in Calgary
France's economy saw only a weak rebound after 2009 with real GDP growth rates of about two per cent in both 2010 and 2011 before slowing to a crawl with only 0.3 per cent growth in 2012. In comparison, Canada positively raced ahead, experiencing real GDP growth of 3.4, 3.0 and 1.9 per cent in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.
The referendum in Scotland demonstrates the risks of England denying tax benefits to charities which promote indigenous Scottish values. Canada should have the self-confidence to respect the values and purposes which emanate from Quebec's people and legislature when granting tax benefits to registered charities.
In Canada, I quickly realized, depression is one of the only life-threatening illnesses that you have to be rich to get proper treatment for. Since 1961, Canadians have taken care of our neighbours, our family, and our friends if they have illnesses like heart disease, or diabetes. But if they're suicidal or depressed? We've basically said tough luck -- deal with it yourself. This while more people are actually suffer from mental health issues each year then heart disease and diabetes combined.
Governments must make interest payments on their debt similar to families who pay interest on borrowing for mortgages, vehicles, or credit card spending. These interest payments leave fewer resources available for important priorities such as tax relief and spending on public programs such as health care, education, and social services.
The tendency for governments to increasingly regulate the advertising industry, whether in the name of consumer protection or for health concerns, is already on full throttle. After cigarette packs, don't be surprised if sooner or later you see plain bags of chips on the shelves of convenience stores, or plain-packaged chocolate bars. Politicians stand on a steep, slippery slope that could lead to private property and intellectual property violations, and destruction of brands. The economic consequences should be weighted carefully. And such policies backed by solid empirical data, not merely good intentions.
It is true that smoking is a major public health concern, and one might be tempted to say that the change in behaviour is desirable, whatever the effect on government revenue. Again, Laffer tells us that things are more complicated than it seems. While it is true that some people are deterred from smoking by tax increases, this is not the case of all smokers.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has recently forced Oxfam Canada to exclude "preventing poverty" from their mission statement in order to keep their charity status. Now a fundamental question needs to be answered. Why does the CRA think that charities have to wait for individuals to fall into poverty's trap before the charities can help the disadvantaged? Isn't prevention better than a cure? The bigger concern, however, is with a black-and-white definition of poverty. The assumption that one is not poor one day, but wakes up to be poor the next day is completely flawed.
Restoring the corporate tax rate would be a good start. When Ontario began cutting that rate in 2010 it was based on an idea that companies would use the savings for job creation and to develop new markets and products. That has not panned out. Instead Canadian corporations are sitting on $600 billion of hoarded cash that benefits very few.
There has been much hand-wringing over the claimed disappearance of the middle class. At the national level important policy such as a stable currency and domestic peace matter to the creation of prosperity and the formation of the middle class. But domestically, consider one issue -- tax rates -- that can be easily compared across provinces and which has an effect upon wealth creation and thus opportunities and jobs.