Isn’t Catherine Swift some form of economist? From today’s TJ:

Merging Atlantic Canada a tax boon?
Published Friday March 30th, 2007
Appeared on page A1/A8

Amalgamating the four Atlantic provinces under a single government would significantly reduce the tax burden facing New Brunswick businesses, says the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Catherine Swift, whose lobby group represents almost 2,000 New Brunswick businesses, has proposed the sweeping reform as a response to the high tax rates that have historically plagued the Atlantic provinces.

But she was recently convinced to revisit the well-travelled concept of regional amalgamation due to the small business tax increases in New Brunswick.

Someone should tell Ms. Swift that uder the current Equalization formula, efforts such as this would ultimately just result in less Equalization transferred from the Feds. That’s the whole premise behind Equalization. If you generate more own source tax you get less Equalization. So, almost by definition, if the four governments merged, dropped overall government costs by say 30% – my guess is that Equalization would drop by similar rate.

Besides, the unsaid reality of any Maritime Union or Atlantic Union is this. Government workers are the highest paid workers in Atlantic Canada. If you consolidated government and cut away thousands of workers, would it help your desire to grow the population or hurt it?

Just asking.

Oh, and for the CFIB the same question applies. Public sector workers in New Brunswick are now close to 20% of the total workforce (health care included) and they are the best paid. What would it do to your (i.e. the CFIB’s) clientele, if they lost a big chunk of their market? Sure, save a few hundred in taxes but…

I’m not a big fan of big government. Never have been. But when it’s all you got, you had better think twice. If we could replace big government with big business, then maybe…