So What’s Wrong If The Better Off Among Us Pay More Taxes?

A Commentary by Doug Draper

There may be a good number of you out there who don’t care all that much for the New Democratic Party’s Ontario leader Andrea Horwath. But let’s give her a bit of credit for one thing.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath

At least Horwath, the province’s NDP leader, showed a wee bit of courage earlier this month to walk over to the pool and stick a toe in the water, didn’t she?  And oh, wasn’t the water in that pool too cold for too many other politicians? Wasn’t it?

The water I am talking about is the province’s ability to charge income taxes – a form of tax based on people’s ability to pay. And yes, that is one heck of a lot to ask anyone to do these days – to contribute, based on their ability to pay, to a pool of tax money for essential services like health care, education, policing and so on.

I would dare Tim Hudak, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader and an MPP representing residents in the Niagara area, or Jim Bradley, a cabinet minister with Ontario’s Liberal government and an MPP for St. Catharines, to ask Ontario residents of means to pay a little bit more in income taxes. So far, it looks like it is not going to happen. A politician, anywhere in this province, let along this planet, asking people to pay a bit more in income taxes – however much income they make – is political poison these days.

Yet Horwath, to her credit, is the first politician in this province for more than a decade and a half  to ask Ontario residents to do that. And all she is asking the minority Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty to accept in its final budget for this year is an income tax increase for people making more than $500,000 per year. Is that asking too bloody much?

Apparently not, for at least a few of the doctors in the province. We might think that doctors would be the first to support policies that cut income taxes, but at least a hundred or two of the province’s doctors in this province, calling themselves ‘Doctors for Fair Taxation’, are urging the McGuinty government to go even further than Horwath. They are asking the government to consider increasing income taxes for those making an income down to $100,000.

Doctors for Fair Taxation, an organization representing medical physicians in the province, is asking the McGuinty overnment to fight the province’s $16-billion deficit and help collect revenue for necessary public services at the same time by hiking income taxes on individuals making more than $100,000 a year.

“I think our position is just ultra reasonable,” Dr. Michael Rachlis, a medical physician and spokesperson for Doctors for Fair Taxation told me in a recent interview. Rachlis added that all his organization is asking for is that a doctor or anyone else with a taxable income around $170,000 per year pay an extra roughly $1,400 in taxes to help cover the cost of essential services in the province.

“I think we can do that because it is a moral question,” said Rachlis. “Because the inequality in Canada is getting wider” when it comes to people at the higher and lower ends of the income spectrum.

Around the same time as some Ontario physicians have done their thing, a group called Lawyers for Fair Taxation has done the same thing. They too feel lawyers should pay their fair share.

And why shouldn’t they?

Why shouldn’t doctors and lawyers, along with teachers and police and firefighters and othes, for that matter,  want to pay their fair share of taxes to pay for the services we need? Why not openly go to the governments in power and say they are willing to do so.

For some three decades now, going back to the Reagan era in the United States and Thatcher era in England, not to mention the Malroney era in Canada – we have been told over and over again that what we need are tax cuts. They are the only way to make our lives prosperous. Yet what have we seen ever since?

There is no way we can have tax cuts without also suffering service cuts. That is just the way it is. I sometimes wish, although it will never happen, that we can go to those among us who have voted or tax cuts and say; ‘Well, alright. If you want a tax cut, what services that you use and need directly, whether that mean health care, education, policing and so on, would you be willing to cut. Don’t tell me about cutting services you don’t use. Tell me what services you use and need that you would be willing to see cut.’

I think if  you went to people with that question, they may be far more likely to say they are willing to cut anything.

(Niagara At Large invites you to share your comments on this post below. Remember that we only post comments by individuals who also share their real first and last names.)

 

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12 responses to “So What’s Wrong If The Better Off Among Us Pay More Taxes?

  1. pat scholfield

    How about making a compromise. Increase taxes for all those making over $250,000.

  2. I do believe the magicians of Queens Park have done it again. Instead of higher taxes why not use the Bank of Canada (BoC) as it was intended. Create the necessary money, at little or no interest, to run the Province and not borrow at interest from commercial banks in private hands. The BoC created at almost 0% 500Million Dollars in the depression and lent it to the government that spent the money into existance.This caused no inflation or deflation of the Canadian dollar and no increase in taxes.
    Wise up!

  3. Will MacKenzie

    I have no argument with Andrea Horwath’s call for a higher tax rate on those making exhorbitant incomes (hospital administrators come to mind). I really have no problem with Andrea Horwath. The problem is the rest of the NDP caucus. She faces the same problem as Bob Rae when he took power – no bench strength! When you have 50% of the caucus brain power in the leader – and the rest spread out in the remainder of the caucus, you don’t have a lot of good potential cabinet ministers.

  4. I agree with Glenn regarding the Bank Of Canada. The government should be using financing through the Bank Of Canada. We’d save a fortune, and we could put the funds towards hospitals etc.

  5. Here’s an informative video about the Bank Of Canada:

  6. This comment might not see the light of day, but it is important Doug, for it is TRUTH…….
    Yes! Will I agree Andrea is in fact facing existing problems she had no hand in making much as Bob Rae had when he woke in an amazed state to find he was the Premier of Ontario. People through media cajoling and lambasting were brainwashed in negativity concerning that NDP Government so hastily formed….BUT…by concentrating on the negatives and neglecting to put voice to “all” the positives the corporate media made Rae look like an idiot, which by the way he wasn’t (I am not a fan of Rae but truth is important)
    The fact that your words paint or “TAR” the NDP caucus with mean minded political bashing is by no means indicative of the wealth of knowledge embodied in that group of women and men who fight daily to uphold our way of life. At rallies and meetings it is and was the “Whole” NDP group who fought to save hospitals not just Andrea and except for Kim Craitor no other party or party member spoke or attended. So please stop the blood letting and stick to facts

  7. Chris Wojnarowski

    As Joe says, lets stick to facts. For what its worth, someone making $500,000 a year in Ontario, pays $212,479 in taxes. That’s a marginal rate of 46.41%. How much more do you think that someone should pay? And just how would McGuinty spend this “little bit more”? Ornge? Unfunded liabilities from cancelled projects? E-health? Paying New York to take our electricity? At what point does that someone just pack up their stuff and move to Alberta? When is it enough?

  8. Chris, they do not even pay even NEAR that amount in taxes, once you put in all the loopholes, tax exemptions, write-offs and so forth generally available for that class of people. Those of us in the middle and working classes cannot afford the kinds of purchases and tax strategies that people in these income stratospheres can, which is why we can’t avoid taxes at the same rate they do. It would good just to see people in this group actually pay the amount of taxes that are owed, instead of avoiding most of them through various strategies unavailable to the non rich.

  9. Chris I agree but when our Bank CEOs give themselves 20% to 29% pay increases something stinks in Canada especially when factories move to Mexico or elsewhere to achieve lowers labor costs. The Chief Executive Officers have their own union (Association) as do the Board Directors and our government hires the Chairperson to put forth solutions supposedly to enhance our economy????

  10. Oh! Yes Chris, some of their accountants find and employ loop holes that one could drive a tank division through..in some cases many pay little or no taxes. The CEO of a now bankrupt Canadian corporation the year before he retired had remuneration that was over 400 times that of the president of the U.S.A. ($129 Million) He then left the company the following year as it sunk into the pit and his “Golden Handshake was $3 Million. NO names required but I can supply the Name

  11. Dave Chappelle

    I’ll answer the questions:
    1. All of them. Take all my services away and drop my taxes. I’ll further reduce the half bag of garbage a week i generate. My library is larger than the local public one. I hate living in a police state, so lay them off, please. My neighbors own tractors and can plow the road. I already pay more for water than other Niagara residents, and that water is so full of the first chemical used in gas warfare that I have to leave the tank open for it to gas off. With a pump in the cistern and a hose I can soak a fire, and my volunteer fire department will come in minutes.

    2. Because punishing people for being productive and saving and investing is wrong.
    If you want tax, take it from us at the cash register. We spend, we pay. It’s the fairest system of all. And we make evil business owners (they’re all evil, right? Unlike upstanding union workers) pay to do the collecting for us.

    Besides, the rich make the rules, because they pay for the political campaigns. So the lawmakers make rules the rich want. You can tax them
    at 100%, and you won’t increase your tax revenues.

    And today people put their money where their mouse is. It can be moved with a few clicks, digits cross borders, and in seconds it’s not available to thieving politicians.

    Andrea’s is a symbolic victory, which proves either she’s as mathematically challenged as the rest of her party, or she prefers perception over her principles.

  12. Mark Taliano

    Somalia has a Libertarian style government …

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