21 NS TAX REVIEW REPORT
The Nova Scotia Tax and Regulatory Review report does not, in my opinion, go far enough in correcting the problems in our taxation system. Granted that it can not go far enough while the Federal Government continues to use the complicated tax base to which the Provinces are tied. As long as political parties are in control and fail to make major changes, our economies will continue to deteriorate. Until the legislative bodies have enough members independent of the political parties, the interest of our Government will be political reelection not good government.
The first comment on the report that I heard on radio was a lady, of low income, complaining about the removal of rebates of HST on some goods. The news reporter did not point out to her, and the listeners, that the report also included correction of the refunding of HST/GST tax to low income families. I did not hear any politician stepping forward to make a correction to such misleading reporting. People are fair and reasonable enough to understand and accept change if its need and results are fully explained. Our political parties must think the people are all stupid and unreasonable. They are not, but they have watched the politicians over the years and the record has not been one to attract trust.
The report is obviously based on an assumption that the elected representatives will continue to make political decisions rather than the proper ones. Graham Steel comments that the politicians will probably kill even the mildest corrections to the tax system. In the typically misguided thinking of Government, the tax system is foremost in their thinking, not the people taxed. The exclusion of any consumption from point of sales tax is most harmful to those who can least afford to pay it. The ones who save the most tax on exempted goods are the ones who buy more of and more expensive goods. If all expenditures were taxed, the tax rate could be lower and still raise the same revenue. Those with insufficient funds to pay for their needs receive financial support to the extent that our society demands. Very few wish to see people freezing to death in their homes or starving in the streets.
The second wrong caused in legislating for tax systems instead of for people is that peoples buying choices are influenced. Peoples consumption needs and choices differ. Some people choose less costly food in order to have funds available for something more important to them. Those with the money need not make consumption choices, so the exemption from tax means nothing to them. Our society enables their standard of living, it seems just, that there is a pay back to society.
One of the evils of politics is that its control of elected representatives takes away their ability and duty to lead the people, to make clear the effects of their actions, and then to do what is right instead of what is popular. Let me repeat two wise comments; “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy." and. “A representative must be sensitive of the views of the people, and sometimes must run the risk of their displeasure, or he will never do them any good in the long run.”