As cities across Ontario try to squeeze out savings to expand public transit, something doesn't add up. Too many cities, including Toronto, are missing out on hundreds of millions in savings. That's because Ontario has a labour law loophole that's putting cities, companies and taxpayers at a huge disadvantage.
By making it easier to navigate the tax rules and meet their obligations, Canadians will spend less time and less of their money on preparing their taxes, leaving more in their pockets. For Canadian businesses, productivity could improve as they spend less time, effort and capital dealing with tax compliance and red tape.
Road levy. Recreation and culture levy. Transportation for tomorrow tax. Dedicated road tax. Asset levy. Make no mistake: we want our cities to invest in infrastructure. Sewer, water, roads; these are core responsibilities of local government. But repackaging this spending with a new tax is a slap in the face.
It may be tempting to pay for certain things in cash because we think that saving a few dollars here and there can't hurt; however, we fail to see the larger impact of what happens when we do. The underground economy makes it challenging to protect the country's revenue base and hinders the government's ability to keep taxes low. When people pay in cash, they skip out on paying the taxes that support things like healthcare, education and public transportation -- the very social services we rely on every day.
How is it that everyone seems to know someone who's paid under the table, but no one concedes to doing it? Of course, that's no surprise. Who wants to admit to putting personal gain ahead of the greater good? It costs jobs, undermines businesses that play by the rules, and deprives the government of much needed revenue for vital programs. Statistics Canada says the underground economy totalled $42.4 billion in 2012, roughly 2.3 per cent of gross domestic product, much of it occurring in the construction, finance and real estate, retail and hospitality industries.
By doubling the maximum contribution for a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), which would therefore jump to $11,000 a year according to rumours surrounding next Tuesday's budget, the federal government is doing more than just encourage saving; it's taking a step toward the de facto elimination of the capital gains tax on financial investments for the great majority of Canadians.
Now that the annual financial anxiety season is over, how did you and your partner do? If you both had a less than spectacular financial year, don't be discouraged. Now is a great time to review your financial situation and resolve to make changes now to ensure you're in a better position next year.
I don't like when tax dollars are wasted -- whether at the provincial level by relocating gas plants, or at City Hall by tearing up LRT contracts willy-nilly, or even by the federal government straight up losing $3.1 billion (whatever happened to that scandal, by the way?). And I get that times are tough. Saving pennies matters to a lot of people these days, and it should to our governments, too.
Way back in May, I had commented about my unease with Ford's relationship with young black males. I said that his proximity to these kids as a football coach smelled of the Penn State scandal. Was Ford a teacher? No. Was Ford in anyway involved in the education system? No. Was Ford a crack user? Yes. Was Ford an alcoholic? A pathological liar? Yes and yes. I'm sorry, but there is no way I would have wanted my child, who as Ford said would either be "dead or in jail," groomed and mentored on how to become a man by a drunk crack addict who could pretty well end up dead or in jail when this fiasco comes to an end.
We are fooling ourselves if we think that full-day kindergarten is anything more than a glorified babysitting service. A four- or five-year-old child may benefit from a few hours of schooling each day, but six hours straight? Is this really for the benefit of the child, or the parents and well-paid teaching staff?
Recently, I asked Industry Canada for information on disbursements to businesses since the early 1960s. The result of that request revealed the hollowness of one claim often advanced in support of subsidies to business: that "acorns" will grow to "oak trees." Instead, what is evident from the data is that many "oak trees" never stop asking for handouts.
Canadians who don't regularly track how governments spend money might be surprised to find how myths crop up about government expenditures. Exhibit A is a new report that claims Canada needs even more "industrial policy," more colloquially known as corporate welfare. Governments are less eager to be frank about the cost of corporate welfare, including chronic government failure on collecting on past loans.
Because of the Muskoka Initiative children in Africa are being protected from diseases for just a few dollars. Launched at Canada's G8 Summit in 2010, the focus of the initiative is on supporting proven, cost-effective, and evidence-based interventions. Vaccines are just that. Vaccines save lives and help communities to thrive.
Golf revenues are slowly on the decline across Canada. Some B.C. leaders have missed the simplest way of fixing this problem: getting taxpayers out of the golf game all together. It's one thing for taxes to go to essentials like water, sewer or public safety, it's another thing to know you're subsidizing luxuries like municipal golf courses. If you can find a service listed on YellowPages.ca, government shouldn't be providing it.
Municipal elections are notable for their small turnout. In many communities across B.C., a few votes can make a big difference, which is why people concerned about high taxes and bloated spending need to vote to change the culture of their council -- and then hold their new leaders accountable for their decisions.
A town can try to sell itself on its charm, its appearance, its vaguely beneficial "lifestyle" -- but none of these can compete with the lure of a tax moratorium or free, serviced land; the attractive offers of yesteryear. Is charm worth more to a company than easy access to the transportation network? Or lower taxes? Not likely.