Av­er­age in­comes up, but govern­ment grabs

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - OPINION -

This year’s an­nual Tax Free­dom Day is like an ex­er­cise in tread­ing wa­ter. You’re both ahead and you’re be­hind. Here’s how. Ev­ery year the Fraser In­sti­tute cal­cu­lates how much of your in­come goes to taxes. Not just in­come taxes, but the full tally, in­clud­ing sales taxes, gas taxes, car­bon taxes and more.

This year’s Tax Free­dom Day falls on June 10 — mean­ing if you paid your taxes en­tirely up front, all of your work­ing hours un­til that day would be spent bankrolling the tax­man.

As a per­cent­age of av­er­age in­come, that means 43.6 per cent of fam­ily in­come is spent on taxes. Nearly half.

June 10 is the same day it was on last year. Does this mean our gov­ern­ments fi­nally smartened up and held the line, de­clin­ing to raise your taxes for once?

Nope. Not a chance. Taxes on av­er­age went up 3.1 per cent. But the Cana­dian fam­ily saw an av­er­age in­come gain of 3.3 per cent.

It’s great to hear Cana­di­ans are bring­ing in just a lit­tle bit more. The econ­omy did well in 2017 and it’s good to hear Cana­di­ans on av­er­age shared in the spoils.

But govern­ment clearly got a whiff of this mi­nor pros­per­ity and reached in to grab it back for them­selves. The gains we made were negated by tax in­creases. We’re left

The gains we made were negated by tax in­creases. We’re left tread­ing wa­ter.”

tread­ing wa­ter. Even when you think you’re get­ting ahead, the govern­ment tries to drag you back down un­der.

Once again, Al­berta leads the pack as the land of the most tax-free, with its tax free­dom date com­ing in at May 22. Mean­while, New­found­land & Labrador have their tax­pay­ers work­ing over­time un­til June 26.

It’s im­por­tant for pol­i­cy­mak­ers to think about tax­a­tion in the way the Fraser In­sti­tute has framed it. Cana­di­ans are work­ing al­most half the year just to fi­nance govern­ment.

Sure, in ex­change for some of that money we re­ceive pub­lic ser­vices we rely on — like pri­mary in­fra­struc­ture and health care.

Yet when­ever some­one pro­poses a new ex­pense that isn’t en­tirely nec­es­sary, when­ever a politician ad­vo­cates some new tax or levy or fee, they need to think about the very real hu­man cost that they’re im­pos­ing on Cana­dian fam­i­lies.

Fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity and pru­dent man­age­ment of the pub­lic purse is key to real free­dom and a bet­ter life for tax­pay­ers.

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