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Weekly Commentary  

Little things, big things

Losing income when you're already barely making ends meet is a big deal. It hurts even more if it's because you were following the rules and then those rules came back to bite you.

This week a Liberal MP discovered something that officials in the Department of Finance had accidentally missed. I'll try to avoid unnecessary details here and get straight to the point.

As you know, if a person is a low income senior he or she may be eligible for the monthly supplement known as the GIS.

Well, apparently under certain conditions if you are in that position and you withdraw money from savings you may have in your RRIF (or RRSP) you might put at risk all or part of your GIS.

You'll notice I'm using words like 'may', 'apparently' and 'might'.

What's happening now is that the Minister of Human Resources, Diane Finley, has ordered an immediate review of all of these policies to make sure they are not working against seniors. She has also instructed officials to take a look at any previous transactions along these lines done by low income seniors to see if they inadvertently were short changed.

Regarding jobs and economic growth for BC, an announcement Friday has gone almost unnoticed.

A BC shipbuilding design company just landed a sweet contract in an open bid process to be the designer of the Coast Guard's new offshore oceanographic science vessel.

To be completed by 2014, this multi-million dollar project will continue the clean, high tech clusters of jobs that have such a positive economic impact on our province.

Now for a really big news item, did you see the monthly report on Canada's overall fiscal situation? Some people may get bored by reports from 'number crunchers' but I get all excited when I check out these numbers (okay, so I don't have a life).

The audit shows that our deficit for this year has gone down almost 40%!

And the tax picture gets me going too. Regular readers of this column will be aware that from time to time I reflect on the great Tax Debate question.

Basically, one side says we need to raise taxes to bring revenues into government coffers. The other side, ours, says that doesn't have to be the case.

Taxes of course are necessary. But over-taxation is a disincentive and drives away hard work and job creating investment.

During the last couple of years of global downturn most industrialized nations did not lower taxes.

We did.

Of course we lowered the GST by almost 29%. We also have continued to reduce taxes on small, medium and large enterprises.

We've also lowered taxes on seniors by allowing income splitting and we've raised the amount of income a senior can bring in without being subject to tax.

Through these and other measures we've maintained a consistent message that the only direction federal taxes are going is 'down'.

We've done this based on our belief that reducing taxes will encourage work, investment and innovation.

So what has the jury said about the federal government taking this position?

Well, in Friday's daily paper we saw the analysis. Tax revenues have increased by about 9.6%, or over $13 Billion! That means more people are working and more businesses are growing and more revenues are coming to the government because we have lowered taxes, not raised them.

That will be our plan going forward.


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