Low taxes are nothing to brag about

I’ve written an opinion piece that appears in today’s Regina Leader-Post. The piece argues that the Saskatchewan government shouldn’t brag about the province’s low-tax climate (which it recently did). Rather, I argue that taxes serve important functions. The link to the opinion piece is here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.

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Wall Strikes Out on Fiscal Federalism

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall recently issued a statement exhorting his fellow Premiers to blaze largely unspecified new trails on healthcare, Employment Insurance and Equalization. Unfortunately, he misses the ball on all three issues. Greg Fingas and Verda Petry have already refuted Wall’s call for further healthcare privatization. On Employment Insurance, Wall implies that eastern Canadians are collecting excessive benefits funded by […]

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Ontario Budget: Federal-Provincial Relations

My post on the night after Ontario’s budget hit the key features. However, the budget had a couple of other interesting aspects from a federal-provincial perspective. Childcare Funding Some progressive voices trumpeted the provincial budget’s allocation of $63.5 million annually to replace discontinued federal funding for childcare spaces. While the Ontario government finally made the right decision on this file, […]

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Equalization Bailout?

I have always grudgingly admired the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s ability to manufacture news, but last week’s op-ed by Kevin Gaudet takes the cake. It launches an attack on Equalization from an utterly false premise: Next year, federal equalization payments to the provinces are expected to decline anywhere from 10 to 15%. As a result, some premiers are demanding that the […]

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The Star on Equalization: Another Reality Check

The lead editorial in today’s Toronto Star essentially restates McGuinty’s case more coherently than yesterday’s reports. The supposed problem identified is that, if Ontario becomes a “have-not” province, it would continue to pay more into Equalization than it would get out. This scenario is not nearly as strange as The Star makes out. Equalization has always been funded by all […]

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McGuinty on Equalization: A Reality Check

For a while, the Ontario Premier was looking quite reasonable in his dispute with the federal government. As Jim Flaherty charged that Ontario’s economic woes reflected a lack of provincial corporate tax cuts, Dalton McGuinty correctly responded that a lower rate of tax on profits would entail a large fiscal cost and provide little assistance to Ontario’s currently unprofitable manufacturing […]

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Lawsuits Galore

While the Saskatchewan government’s decision to take the federal government to court over Equalization has captured more headlines, the Saskatchewan government is also helping to finance legal action against the federal government’s handling of the Canadian Wheat Board: Sask. backs CWB lawsuit The Leader-Post (Regina) Thursday, June 14, 2007 Page: D1 / FRONT Section: Business & Agriculture Byline: Angela Hall A group […]

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Reflections on the “fiscal imbalance”

A year ago, I was concerned that the Harper government, in the name of “fixing” the “fiscal imbalance”, would endorse ideas coming from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the CD Howe Institute for a radical decentralization of fiscal federalism. This would have entailed eliminating the non-equalization transfers to the provinces (that fund health care, post-secondary education and social […]

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Caledon Institute Budget Commentary

http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/622ENG.pdf “There are several positive measures, most notably the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the proposed changes to the Equalization program.  Other provisions, like the child tax credit, are a large cup of wasteful spending.  The funds could have been far better spent on an increased Canada Child Tax Benefit, additional child care spaces or […]

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Politics and the “fiscal imbalance”

Having read the electoral tea leaves, Stephen Harper decides to take the “fiscal imbalance” issue off the table, to be replaced, it would appear with the new “green plan”, an issue unmentioned in the Tory platform, but one that they apparently think will get them better milage than the minefield of federal-provincial relations. When Harper first embraced this issue it […]

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What’s New on the “Fiscal Imbalance”?

The Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) organized a breakfast forum in Ottawa today (September 12), to launch a special issue of Policy Options on the so-called “fiscal imbalance” issue. A moderately decentralist (France St Hillaire) to distinctly pro province/ right of centre (Tom Courchene and Gilles Paquet) panel of economic experts lamented the collapse of provincial unity around […]

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Fear of Sharing

All of this equalization talk has Preston Manning worried. While Alberta Premier Ralph Klein would have just told the rest of us to keep our grubby hands off Alberta’s wealth, Manning and his co-author Fred Kerr take 1200 words to explain to us that Alberta is already sharing as much as it can. Let’s take a walk though their oped […]

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Alberta’s Oil and Quebec Seperation

Rafe Mair looks back at history, then contemplates high oil prices and resulting tensions in Confederation, in his Tyee column: First some history. With the arrival of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1965, the oil price fix has been in and we all know about the crisis in 1974 that brought about huge lineups at the […]

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Greasing the wheels of federalism

The Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson (subscriber access only) thinks the outlines of a solution to the alleged "fiscal imbalance" has been found through a mix of more equalization plus increased program-related transfers to the provinces: The O'Brien report [aka the Expert Panel on Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing, appointed by former Finance Minister Ralph Goodale] reminds us of what […]

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Equalization – A Family History

Dalhousie's Lars Osberg reflects on his family in relation to the equalization program. This piece was published in the Halifax Mail-Star and Chronicle Herald Op-Ed, April 6, 2005 and merits a reprint here in the context of much bickering among the premiers: When my parents were growing up in Alberta in the 1930s, it was a poor province – their […]

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Alberta, Equalization and a Little Irony

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/06/07/AlbertaEffect/ Over the years, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has rarely missed an opportunity to poke a finger at the equalization program and to re-assert that Canada better keep its hands off Alberta's resource wealth. For King Ralph, it makes for great theatre and even better politics. Klein recently threatened to pull out of the equalization program if necessary in order […]

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