The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax credits would be valued at […]

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Still Progressive and family friendly: evaluating Québec’s income tax policy

University of Sherbrooke economist and fiscal specialist Luc Godbout with Suzie St-Cerny and Michaël Robert-Angers has just published a timely research paper evaluating the net fiscal impact on households of Québec’s income tax system.Timely because, as discussed here be Armine Yalnizyan recent data from stats can shows that though globally income inequality has risen during the last recession, they have […]

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Income Splitting: A Bad Idea Returns

Since the Conservatives are promising income splitting, it may be worth revisiting some classic Relentlessly Progressive Economics posts on the subject. Some of the links we posted four years ago no longer work, so my Ottawa Citizen op-ed is reproduced below. While the population totals and tax thresholds have changed slightly, the analysis stands. The Conservatives have somewhat limited the […]

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An Alternative Budget: Making Jobs, Not War

This piece was initially posted on the Globe and Mail’s online business feature, Economy Lab. Join the comments section! For 18 years I’ve been part of a national project in participatory budgeting called the Alternative Federal Budget. Each year dozens of national and community organizations representing millions of Canadians convene over a six month period, debating and costing out measures […]

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What to do about Household Debt?

It’s a funny old economy we live in. The release of today’s national balance sheet accounts has aroused great concern about the rise of the ratio of household debt to personal disposable income to a new record of 148%. Mark Carney and our banks want – quite rightly – to discourage further borrowing to prevent a disaster for highly leveraged […]

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Memo to Energy Minister

Memo to Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert: Royalties are not taxes Already “under attack for allegedly being rude and dismissive when he was health minister,”[1] current Energy Minister Ron Liepert conceded he hadn’t read the Parkland Institute’s new report on vast oilpatch profits but that didn’t stop him from dismissing it: “This is a not unexpected sort of NDP/socialist view […]

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Bank Economist Proposes Higher Tuition Fees

A globeandmail.com article posted last night discusses a recent report on post-secondary education in Nova Scotia.  The report itself, released yesterday, was written by BMO’s former Chief Economist, Tim O’Neill.  According to the article, O’Neill’s report calls for “complete deregulation of tuition fees” in Nova Scotia.  Moreover: He believes that higher tuitions are more equitable because they force students, who are disproportionately […]

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How About Monetary Policy?

Today’s Toronto Star features an op-ed by John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. (I once had the chance to hear John speak at a press conference in Toronto and found him to be an oustanding public speaker.  But I digress…) In the piece, he argues that “we” (I think he means both the Harper government and the […]

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BC’s carbon tax turns two

With all of the attention focused on the HST implementation on July 1, most people seemed to miss the next increment of that other much-hated tax, BC’s carbon tax. As of July 1, the carbon tax is now $20 per tonne of CO2, or about 4.6 cents on a litre of gasoline. And like any two-year old, this toddling tax […]

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Reining in speculation in the housing market

This morning federal finance minister Flaherty announced a number of measures ostensibly aimed at reining in speculation in the housing market.  His announcement was typically well-timed to coincide with the Vanier Institute’s annual report on the state of Canadian family finances, which reports record high levels of household debt, growing inequality and housing prices increasingly out of whack with incomes. But […]

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The “Right” Stimulus Debate

We are now into full blown Budget consultation mode, with MPs of all parties going through a bit more than the usual pretence of listening before the actual Budget is finally put to bed by the government a few days hence. For once, even the Conservative inner circle seem a bit unsure of where to go. Below the closed (charmed) […]

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Ontario’s Health Premium

Yesterday, I appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park. The committee is reviewing the Ontario Health Premium, as required by the legislation that implemented this levy. My assessment of the premium starts from the premise that the Government of Ontario needs more revenue not only for healthcare, but also for industrial development, education and […]

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Dion’s Green Plan or Mintz’s Tax Plan?

There is a lot of the colour green all over Dion’s Green Shift plan.  But after reading it, the greenery appears almost as superficial as the green shift caps that Liberal MPs wore awkwardly with their business suits at the launch yesterday. Dion’s plan is really a proposal for a tax shifting budget and doesn’t contain any new proposals to […]

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Statistics Canada Abandons the Class War?

In contrast to last week’s Census release highlighting stagnant individual earnings, today’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) release trumpets rising family income. The political right critiqued coverage of last week’s release for emphasizing individual rather than family income and for not capturing the tax-and-transfer system’s equalizing effects. In particular, the Prime Minister indicated that his government had cut […]

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Kesselman on Income Splitting

There has been so much discussion of income splitting on this blog that we already have two posts entitled “Income Splitting Redux.” Adding to the mix, the Institute for Research on Public Policy has released a major paper by Jon Kesselman on the subject. He cites my Ottawa Citizen op-ed among many other sources. I have not fully read and […]

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Taxing the Rich

Niels Veldhuis of the Fraser Institute takes me to task today in a Letter to the Editor in response to the story, ‘Tax the rich more in Canada, study urges” (Nanaimo Daily News, Dec. 12). He claims that “the story focusing on the report by Canadian Labour Congress economist Andrew Jackson is seriously misleading… the report conveniently ignores the impact […]

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