Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In which Dalton McGuinty tries to buy my vote

I don't have any particularly strong opinions about Ontario's adoption of the HST, although my husband, who runs his own translation business, will now have to collect more tax for his services. But my general take on thie issue is that if you're going to be implementing a new tax, then just do it - we've known for quite some time that this tax was coming, and delaying its full brunt for a year just puts off the political pain that will accompany the inevitable hostility that always welcomes a new tax.

Cue the reason for this post. I received a notice in the mail that I'm going to be receiving Dalton McGuinty's HST tax rebate. Or, more to the point, as a couple, my husband and I are eligible.

I've never seen such naked pandering to middle class voters. As a university professor, I earn a very good salary, and my partner's business does quite well. There is no way that we should be qualifying for this rebate - at least under any calculation method that is related to progressive tax policy or promotion of social justice. Moreover, as a DINK couple (double income/no kids), we certainly shouldn't be receiving more than 1.5 times what two single people are getting back.

I suppose that this is the first time that being a married gay couple has actually saved us money (as opposed to bumping us into higher tax brackets), but the naked political opportunism of this ploy bothers me. It certainly isn't going to make me more eager to vote for the man who plans to try to freeze my salary for at least the next two years.

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At 4:27 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

Yes... but how many other people are going to be complaining about getting money back? My guess is less than the number of people that think the rebate is awesome...

At 7:15 pm, Anonymous Maurice said...

So, the whole hoopla about the HST is that it will be applied to goods and services that we except PST before? Okay, now I get it! The thing I remember when Nova Scotia adopted the HST is that the provincial portion went down, so we were only taxed 15% instead of 18.8% under the unharmonized system. Maybe that's why it went over without a hitch over there.

Like Eamon, I wonder how many people would, like you, complain about getting money back. I, for one, have seen a much more blatant pandering when the Tories in NS gave a $100 or so back in the mid 2000s -- I don't remember what for -- and then called an election. Some of my friends, who were well off, took the money and made an extra contribution to the NDP! :) On the other hand, I just put it on my VISA or something boring and sensible like that...

At 9:37 pm, Anonymous Michelle said...

If your electricity bill in Ontario is $100 per month that will translate into $96 more a year for Dalton McGuinty. Lets not for get an average per year more of $144 for Natural Gas and $48 for internet services. If you own a car and spend just $30 a week is gas, it will now cost you another $125 a year.

Just by those averages that's $413 more a year, and let not forget gyms, hiar salons, renovation contractors, vet bills, and many more. It will likely result in the average Ontario taxpayer paying out more than a $1000 each year above current sales taxes. So much for Dalton McGuinty's first year $990 bribe.

At 6:26 pm, Anonymous Eamon said...

Michelle - I get your argument, but it isn't worth much if you only provide half of the story. Maybe if you had qualified it by saying it was your opinion it would be more valid.

I just want to clear it up, in case you don't know. The HST will raise taxes on services. But it will also be a catalyst that creates jobs. It cuts out the layers of tax that accumulate from raw material to finished product. The tax reform package (don't forget that there is more going on than just the HST) includes individual cuts. Most economists say that the policy is good and all parties know it is good (though the opposition will use it as a wedge issue).

Its a good policy, but it has the worst optics ever and most people don't look very deeply into it. I only know this because I worked on HST policy for a municipality that was afraid of its impact.


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