6 Responses to “Without a Debate on Taxes, We Risk Sleepwalking into the Future (by Alex and Jordan Himelfarb)”
  1. Beijing York says:

    I was happy to see this article in The Star, even if it was a shorter version. Perhaps I’m feeling a tad more optimistic but on a municipal level, here in the ‘Peg, many of the villagers are finally putting two and two together and realizing that the low business tax and the residential tax freeze of the last decade or more are the reason there are serious potholes, brown water and burst water pipes making the lives of many a misery. I guess when infrastructure deficits only impact poorer neighbourhoods, the average and better-off-than-average citizen doesn’t have much empathy for those residents. However, equal opportunity blight and decay hits home. I only hope this logic starts to seep into conversations about provincial and federal responsibilities and taxation.

    • himelfarb says:

      Always good to see you a tad more optimistic. Thomas Piketty. OECD and IMF worrying about inequality and arguing for more progressive taxation. The Ontario Libs saying more taxes. Municipalities across the country and in the US turning the corner. The NB Business Council saying it’s time to raise taxes, we’ve cut too deep, all reasons to see real opportunity to turn the corner.

  2. Mark Hammer says:

    As always, nicely stated.

    I think a substantive part of “the tax debate” we are (and should be) encouraged to have, concerns reflecting on what we, as citizens want, and how we think we can/will make it happen. That sounds trite, but it is a reflection too many citizens (and elected officials) fail to take/make: what does it take to accomplish X?

    The operational realities of the services we take for granted are generally opaque to us. Perhaps a component of “open government” and the presumed movement towards greater transparency should include not only divulging where the dollar signs are attached to, and what every initiative costs, but the operational steps and requirements for every single service.

    “Sunshine lists” make citizens angry, particularly if they earn less than people on such a list, but such lists do not foster clarity of what is required, OVERALL, to make program/service X happen. They may foster the pretense that greater clarity is created, but really they end up distracting and obscuring.

  3. Ron Hierath says:

    Before we discuss taxes we should talk about what is the role of government

    • himelfarb says:

      Sure, but by the same token we ought to stop voting for ever more tax cuts – as we have done for decades – without asking that very question. After all, that was the point of the piece ie the dangers of treating tax cuts as a free good and welcoming them without asking what we are giving up or how the role of government is changing.

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