On public knowledge of tax cuts

Thanks Adrew, Erin, Marc for the nice budget analysis.

Far from my mind to take people’s attention from it but while I was listening live to its delivery on CBC, I remembered an article I had read a couple of weeks ago on Cyberpresse (sorry, in French, am looking for the English counterpart). It stated the results of a survey conducted on people’s awareness they were getting income tax cuts for the current fiscal year (given French terminology, I assume the GST cut was out of the survey).

The upshot is that the vast majority of Canadians have no clue that they are getting income tax cuts – or rather, wrongly believed they are not getting any. The “worst” results are in Québec, where 73% did not know, but other regions did not fare much “better” (71% in the Atlantic, 66% in BC, 65% in Ontario, 58% in the Prairies). So it seems that at the very least, some people in comm’s department may have been flogged a bit. Beyond that, though, I wonder whether this does not undercut further any claim to people’s appetite for tax cuts:

At best, this appetite would be seemed to be based on an incomplete knowledge of the actual state of things in taxation policies; at worst the whole thing is manufactured outside of people’s consciousness…

2 comments

  • I take your point, especially re the invisibility of the costlyGST cut – though one should take into account the fact that many people will be pleasantly surprised in a few weeks when they find out they are getting modest income tax refunds due to Flaherty’s Fall Economic Statement. This was, of course, exactly what he had in mind for a Spring election which will now not happen. Too bad for him.

  • Electoral time table… Good point. The survey was for tax cuts in 2007, asking people who were about to file in their income tax return statement, not for this budget. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to it again when people get their tax return to see if they actually notice a different. A sort of ex ante / ex post exercise.

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