Thursday, April 6, 2006

Let's make a deal

Freedom Party leader Paul McKeever exposes John Tory's proposal to exempt members of the Canadian Armed Forces from paying the mandatory Ontario health premium.

"Mr. Tory’s argument is that Ontarians whose health is paid for the by the federal government should not have to pay the McGuinty health care premium”, says McKeever. “I don’t hear him arguing that other Ontarians should get a federal tax cut because, unlike soldiers, they don’t get health care from the federal government. However, more to the point, Mr. Tory’s proposal harms efforts to achieve real tax relief because the proposal is based on a fraudulent assumption: that the health care premium was introduced to put more money into health care, rather than just to increase revenues overall.

“The fact that the tax in question is referred to as a ‘health care premium’ does not change the fact that the premium does nothing more than add more cash to the kitty. In fact, Mr. Hampton reported to the Legislature two years ago that some of the revenue was being spent upon sewers. More to the point: even if the revenues from the tax were 100% ear-marked for health care, the net effect would still be that the government has more money to spend on everything. At best, all that ear-marking can accomplish is the diversion of other tax revenues: from health care to other areas of spending.

“The fact of the matter is that to give a new tax a name like 'health care premium' is merely a way for politicians to sell a tax increase to the voter by making the voter think that, this time, the additional tax will go to an appropriate use. It’s a strategy that implies, correctly, that other taxes are being spent on things they should not be spent upon.

[..] “Let’s call Mr. Tory’s proposal what it is: blatant vote-buying. We saw enough of that nonsense when Mr. Eves tried to buy the votes of seniors with promises of education tax relief, and buy the votes of mortgagors with mortgage interest deductibility. Common to all of these proposals is that the Progressive Conservatives propose to give taxpayers in their target voter demographic a gold mine by giving other taxpayers the shaft. They are morally, economically, and politically corrupt proposals from teeth to tail. Such shell games deserve nothing but the scorn of anybody who wants actual tax relief.

“Enough with politically-motivated tax exemptions, deductions and credits. It’s time to reduce governmental responsibilities so as to reduce expenditures and facilitate the reduction of tax rates. The issue is not whether soldiers should pay the health care premium. The issue is that there never should have been a health care premium in the first place, and it needs to go.

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