Death by a thousand cuts

I keep hearing about tax cuts and ‘reducing the burden’ on New Brunswick taxpayers. Yet, my electricity bills keep going up, my vehicle registration costs went up and now I hear we will all pay a buck or two per month for 911 service (depending on how many telephones we have). Add in increases to other fees and the gas tax and sometimes I think that government purposely tries to confuse people as to what there are really paying in taxes.

So, I did a little personal calculation the other day. I looked at federal income tax, provincial income tax, HST, property tax, gas tax, EI premiums (which I can never benefit from – but that’s a topic for another day), and I began to process all of the various fees that I pay from drivers licenses to vehicle registration to hunting permits.

At the end of the day, I was somewhat shocked to find out that I pay, conservatively, 40-45% of my total income in all of these taxes combined. Now I fully understand why some folks are calling for a flat tax. Let’s stop trying to confuse people. Just get it out in the open. If you are a middle class worker, making middle class wages, you can expect to pay 40% or more of your income in taxes (when you look at all taxes and fees). So charge me 40% – once. That’s it. No taxes on gas, clothes, my house, my car, my just about everything else.

So my advice to goverment? Stop with the ‘marginal’ tax cuts that save me almost nothing and are more than offset by the increases in other government fees and use the few bucks that you would have given in tax cuts to try and grow our economy. Hopefully, if you have some success, over time, you will be able to seriously reduce taxes – or more importantly, raise collective income – to the benefit of all.

This last point can’t be understated. Albertans have the lowest tax rates in the country but pay the most taxes. Why? Because their total income is so high. I would gladly pay 40% if you would double my salary.