rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Nova Scotia tax breaks borrow from Common Book of Corporate Prayer

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/flickr

We shouldn't be surprised.

Not after federal finance minister Joe Oliver last week made the case -- without embarrassment -- Ottawa didn't need to do an independent analysis of the cost-benefits of a $550 million tax credit for small business because the self-interested lobby group Canadian Federation of Independent Business told him it was a good idea.

The CFIB's -- ahem -- analysis concluded the tax break would create "25,000 person years" of employment. The Parliamentary budget officer -- an independent spending watchdog -- crunched the numbers and countered with just 800 jobs over two years.

"We don't do analysis on every expenditure," Oliver said, batting away opposition questions.

And so it is in Nova Scotia where the McNeil government last week released "Charting a Path for Growth: Nova Scotia Tax and Regulatory Review," a commissioned report by former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Laurel Broten.

Broten begins, predictably enough, with the "inescapable" facts: aging population, stagnant economy, spending too much, taking in too little.

Her recommendations are sweeping: "flat-lining total program spending at today's levels over the next five years," imposing a carbon tax, eliminating HST exemptions for everything from heating oil to children's diapers, raising personal income tax exemptions while reducing top end personal and corporate income tax rates…

While Broten appears to have read deeply, there is no reference anywhere to progressive voices like the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that don't sing from the Common Book of Corporate Prayer.

Worse, there is nothing but the most rotely predictable, unsubstantiated analysis of the impact, say, of reducing income taxes for those who earn over $150,000 a year. Will "rewarding risk-takers, dreamers, doers and builders" really boost entrepreneurship and investment, or just fund more winter golfing vacations?

And what about the notion of freezing all program expenditures for five years to eliminate the deficit to… reduce top personal income and corporate taxes.

How many key public services would be eliminated? How many public sector jobs would be lost? How many jobs in the private sector, which depend on spending by those in the public sector, would disappear too? How would that chart a path for growth?

None of that is addressed in this report. We shouldn't be surprised.

This article first appeared in Stephen Kimber's Halifax Metro column.

Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/flickr

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.