Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tax fairness no longer a taboo topic

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wants a new surtax on Ontarians earning more than $500,000 annually.

Thomas Walkom, Opinion, The Toronto Star:

The most striking aspect of Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s call to make the rich pay is that she made it at all.

For almost two decades, the very idea of raising personal taxes — on rich or poor — has been politically toxic.

Federally, successive Liberal and Conservative governments tried to outdo one another in tax-cutting.

Horwath wants a new surtax on Ontarians earning more than $500,000 annually as part of her maybe-yes-maybe-no price for supporting Premier Dalton McGuinty’s minority Liberal government.

Tax fairness is back as a mainstream topic of conversation. For years, it was consigned to the margins, championed by a few advocates such as author Linda McQuaig or economist Armine Yalnizyan, but pretty much ignored by everyone else — including the NDP.

Now it’s back in style.

The Occupy Movement, with its talk of the richest one per cent, has made tax fairness cool. Rumblings from the U.S., where even billionaire Warren Buffet argues that the rich pay too little, has given it a new air of respectability.

Here in Ontario, a campaign by a group called Doctors for Fair Taxation has gained a surprising amount of attention. A poll commissioned by the left-leaning Broadbent Institute argues that almost two-thirds of Canadians would pay “slightly higher taxes” to protect social programs

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