Raising taxes not a guarantee of higher revenues

Governments often fail to account for the behavioural effects spurred by its personal income tax rate hikes

Raising taxes not a guarantee of higher revenuesBy Steve Lafleur and Charles Lammam The Fraser Institute The Alberta government recently abandoned the province’s single 10 per cent tax rate on personal income in favour of a five-bracket system with a top rate of 15 per cent – a move that will reduce Alberta’s competitiveness and cause undue harm on an already struggling…

Do Canadians pay too much in taxes?

Here’s why that’s the wrong question to ask

Do Canadians pay too much in taxes?A recent Fraser Institute report stated that taxes are the single largest budget item of Canadian households. “Your family’s largest expense may surprise you,” the think tank wrote alarmingly, with taxes as the punchline. Of course, if you divide all household expenditures into a number of different categories like food and transportation, but leave all…

Home building hampered by regulatory hurdles

Smoothing out kinks in the home-building process can pay dividends to anyone looking for a new home

Home building hampered by regulatory hurdlesBy Kenneth Green Ian Herzog and Josef Filipowicz The Fraser Institute In Calgary, home prices have more than doubled over the past decade. Despite the recent economic slowdown, more people are moving to Alberta than leaving it. Economic conditions in Alberta wax and wane over time, but the demand for living here persists. Satisfying this…

A better way to fund transit expansion

Look to existing budgets and not new taxes to fund transit expansion in Metro Vancouver

A better way to fund transit expansionBy Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre The Fraser Institute With 62 per cent of Metro Vancouver plebiscite voters rejecting a $250 million annual sales tax hike, local politicians have been scrambling for another way to help fund their $7.5 billion new capital spending plan. Much of the discussion has revolved around alternative sources of revenue…

Too many negatives on negative income tax

A minimum income program or negative income tax sounds good, but the numbers do not work

Too many negatives on negative income taxIncome is, for many people, a sexier thing to talk about than sex. Conversations and media are focused on who gets how much. That the rich have lots and are getting more rots our socks. Thomas Piketty in his book, Capital in the Twenty-first Century, advocates for a global wealth tax to distribute income more evenly. It…

Electric cars still not ready for prime time

Electric cars are nothing but taxpayer subsidized toys for the 1 percenters

Electric cars still not ready for prime timeTwenty years ago, in May, 1995, I had my first op-ed published in a major newspaper, the Los Angeles Times. The title was Pull the Plug on the Electric Car Mandate. In that column I pointed out that battery-powered (non-hybrid) electric vehicles (EVs) were not ready for wide-scale adoption for a variety of reasons, including…

Growing number of firefighters fighting fewer fires

The number of reported fires in Ontario fell by 41% while the number of firefighters increased by 36%

Growing number of firefighters fighting fewer firesBy Charles Lammam and Milagros Palacios The Fraser Institute In an era where municipalities across Canada face budgetary pressures while claiming a lack of revenue, all spending choices warrant close examination. When it comes to fire services, a key municipal responsibility, there’s no doubt firefighters play an important role in protecting our communities. But as…

Many Canadians could end up paying a 15% marginal tax rate

If the government simplified the tax system by eliminating tax credits, deductions, exemptions and exclusions

Many Canadians could end up paying a 15% marginal tax rateBy Charles Lammam and Hugh MacIntyre The Fraser Institute Over the years, the federal government has shown a penchant for muddling the tax system with a myriad of tax credits, deductions, exemptions and exclusions. But tax expenditures – as they are collectively known – recently drew fire from Canada’s auditor general. Specifically, the auditor general…

Don’t define compassion by government spending

The assumption that government is best placed to care for us overlooks a fundamental truth

Don’t define compassion by government spendingIn a recent column in the Edmonton Journal, a local historian mused that modern governments have become too enamoured with “the unfettered market of purely economic conservatism.” He then equated higher taxes and more government spending with compassion. Let’s dispel a myth. Few actually believe in completely “unfettered markets” – that is, the absence of…

Canada’s tax system requires swift simplification

Complex tax system imposes costs on those least able to afford them

Canada’s tax system requires swift simplificationFiled your taxes yet? You’ve got until Thursday at midnight. After that, according to the federal government, you’re officially in arrears. Unfortunately, due to Canada’s increasingly complex tax system, Canadians today face greater challenges filing their taxes than they did just 20 years ago. Things have gotten a lot more complicated. For instance, consider the…