Tax Facts 13

Description

119 pages
Contains Bibliography
$19.95
ISBN 0-88975-203-6
DDC 336.2'00971

Year

2004

Contributor

Reviewed by Dave Bennett

David Bennett is the national director of the Department of Workplace Health, Safety and Environment at the Canadian Labour Congress in Ottawa.

Review

Tax Facts 13 is an account (with some historical references to the
period 1961–2003) of revenue-raising by Canadian governments at the
municipal, provincial, and federal levels. It covers who is taxed in
respect of what, and the amount of the sums raised. The book is avowedly
one about the “tax burden” that is lifted on Tax Freedom Day.

Every tax system—both revenues and how they are expended—depends on
a social policy, explicit or implied. The question of proper balance
between the parties taxed and the amount of revenue raised, and of taxes
on income, property, corporations, or consumption, is a part of this
social policy. Even this central question is ignored in Tax Facts 13:
all taxation is viewed as bad and the higher the rate, the worse the
burden. Nor are alternative forms of taxation discussed, such as
environmental taxes; these “fiscal instruments” are common in
Europe, but in innovative tax policy, Canada is at the bottom of the
league.

When it comes to tax expenditure, Tax Facts 13 is equally deficient.
The best it can manage is that it is “imaginable” that a higher tax
burden does not lead to competitive disadvantage, provided those taxes
are spent productively by governments. The reason that Tax Facts 13 does
not tell us more about tax expenditures is that it is question of
reality, not merely imagination. In Sweden, for example, taxes are high,
unemployment is low, the economy is highly regulated, social services
are effective, and the quality of government is high. True to form, the
Fraser Institute ignores those cases where the facts conflict with the
theory or where private profit is only one of many considerations in
public policy.

Citation

Veldhuis, Niels, Joel Emes, and Michael Walker., “Tax Facts 13,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 18, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15235.