Saturday, 4 May 2013
|PST hike of 1 percentage point|
will hit Manitobans, particularly
low income consumers, where it hurts:
Image Source: Winnipeg Free Press/BORIS MINKEVICH
The Provincial Sales Tax goes up from 7% of pretax purchase value to 8% of pretax purchase value in the 2013 Manitoba Budget. Here are some more facts:
- In the 2011 Manitoba Election NDP leader Greg Selinger called accusations from the PCs that he'd raise taxes "total nonsense".
- The Balanced Budget, Fiscal Management and Taxpayer Accountability Act, introduced by the provincial Conservative government of Gary Filmon in 1995, requires a referendum to raise the PST (section 10).
- Eerily similar to the Federal Conservatives successful circumvention of the requirement for a farmers' vote to remove the Wheat Board's monospony, the Manitoba Government is removing the requirement for a referendum to hike the PST.
|Selinger burns through|
political capital with regressive
user-fee and sales tax hikes.
Image Source: Ministerial Conference
of the Canadian
The people of Manitoba are pissed off. The Canadian Federation of Taxpayers Prairie director Colin Craig, the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, and provincial Conservative leader Brian Pallister are all leading calls for a referendum on the issue. And they're right - for the shake of citizen participation, there has to be a referendum on this hike. Given the pre-election promises of "no tax hikes", it's doubly important that the Premier gets our consent before charging ahead.
This tax hike and the way it was brought will dramatically influence Manitoba politics moving forward. The populist right is already acquiring lots of political capital over this issue, with Brodbeck advising readers on the tax protest and the previously mentioned trio of Craig, MB Chamber of Commerce, and Pallister rallying opposition. Hundreds of Manitobans showed up to the May 2 PST hike protest at the Ledge.
While there's certainly some diehard reactionaries in that crowd (anyone who compares the Manitoba NDP to Soviet communists is only a few parallels north of Tea Party nuttiness), mainstream Manitoba is also ticked. Given that the NDP was sliding before the budget release, this can only spell bad news for the Dippers and good news for the Pallister CONs. It'll be hard for even Goertzen to screw this up.
With the fiscal situation in mind, what would I have done? Part of me thinks it would be tolerable to just wait to get out've annual deficits - both the "deficit-free by 2014" and "no PST hike" promises were reckless given future economic uncertainty. Nobody wins promising tax hikes (as Judy found out), but promising both for your entire term was foolhardy. As the economy booms and global demand upticks, Manitoba's revenues will naturally increase - reducing the
When it comes to quick, revenue-side fixes through consumption taxes I have a few ideas:
|An inheritance tax on $300,000 + estates is a|
progressive means of collecting more taxes.
Image Source: Welcome to the Wellington
- Listen to provincial Liberal leader Jon Gerrard: give the poor a PST rebate. Nay, give the bottom 60% of income earners PST rebates (smaller percentages as income increases, that is, to make the rebate scheme progressive).
- Established a $100/tonne carbon tax to deal with Manitoba's subpar environmental record. Likewise, a rebate scheme for the bottom 60% could make this tax progressive.
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