The rich can pay more taxes, says writer

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

Due to the up­com­ing fed­eral bud­get, I feel an over­whem­ing need to voice my opin­ion on how the fed­eral bud­get should pro­tect pub­lic ser­vices and re­store tax fair­ness. I won­der how many of your read­ers share my opin­ion on this is­sue?

Gov­ern­ment bugets are about choices. Who pays how much? And where are those tax dol­lars in­vested? These choices are even tougher when gov­ern­ments have a deficit. That’s why I will be in­ter­ested to see which choices Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jim Fla­herty makes in the up­com­ing bud­get.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment plays a ma­jor role in fund­ing im­por­tant pub­lic ser­vices like health­care, ed­u­ca­tion, child care, and the Canada Pen­sion Plan. Re­duc­ing the deficit by cut­ting these pro­grams will hurt fam­i­lies who are al­ready strug­gling to make ends meet in tough eco­nomic times. These fam­i­lies didn’t cause the re­ces­sion or the deficit and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment shouldn’t pun­ish them by cut­ting the so­cial pro­grams they need.

Since 1990, the tax rate for the rich­est per cent of Cana­di­ans has dropped dra­mat­i­cally while poorer fam­i­lies have seen their tax rate rise steadily. That’s be­cause per­sonal in­come tax cuts have over­whelm­ingly ben­e­fited the rich­est Cana­di­ans while the rest of us are pay­ing more in sales, pay­roll and prop­erty taxes. And we are again go­ing to see a rise in gas and food costs. At the same time the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has cut taxes for wealthy cor­po­ra­tions ev­ery year for the last decade. Tax fair­ness has been flipped up­side down in Canada.

Mr. Fla­herty can re­duce the deficit, in­vest in pub­lic ser­vices and sup­port hard work­ing fam­i­lies if he chooses to fight for tax fair­ness. The rich­est one per cent of Cana­di­ans can af­ford to pay more. And the big prof­itible banks, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and oil com­pa­nies don’t need an­other $ 6 bil­lion tax cut this year.

I hope Mr. Fla­herty makes the right and smart choice. But I’m not hold­ing my breath. It seems the only force in na­ture more cer­tain that grav­ity is the Harper Con­ser­va­tives’ de­sire to help their cor­po­rate friends. Vanessa Wise­man

Clarenville

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