03 May 2015

Finally, a political party with the guts to talk tax hikes

The right-wing mantras of no new taxes and tax cuts have become so embedded in political discourse that suggesting a tax increase, regardless of the social good it may do, has become almost taboo. Even liberal and left-wing politicians have become reluctant to insist on levels of taxation necessary for the quantity and quality of services Canadians want. But finally, a political party has broken the taboo and included appropriate tax increases in its election platform.

The Alberta NDP have promised to introduce a number of tax increases if they should win the May 5th election. These include an increase in the corporate tax rate from 10 to 12 per cent; and a progressive income tax of 12% on income between $125,000 and $150,000 rising to 15% on income over $300,000. Only the top 10% of filers will be affected by the progressive rates. In all fairness, Premier Jim Prentice also abandoned the infamous flat tax in his recent budget but on a much more modest scale.

The small business tax will remain the same, and there will be no sales tax (Ah, Alberta!). The NDP would also review the oil and gas royalty regime.

The increases are hardly revolutionary but their proposal is at least a welcome departure from the unfortunate political correctness that has settled in around tax hikes. And, of no small importance, they certainly don't seem to be hurting the NDP in the polls, which suggests that it isn't the voters who want to avoid the discussion.

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