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EDITORIAL – What is this ‘tax grab’ so many people complain about?

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

‘TAX GRAB’ is such a nasty term.

Nobody likes a tax grab. None of us likes to pay taxes at all, let alone when there’s a tax grab going on.

I’m curious to know what a tax grab is. We throw it out there right and left whenever we get mad at being taxed for something.

I’ve been reading quite a lot about the new federal carbon tax now in effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as the current high gas prices in B.C. Together they’ve renewed debate over the B.C. carbon tax, which isn’t part of the federal tax.

The carbon tax is being characterized as a tax grab. The rightwing columnists from the far East of the country are particularly indignant about it. But while they rail about it being a tax grab, they don’t say what a tax grab is, other than it being plain they don’t like it.

Calling something a “tax grab” sounds as if whichever level of government is imposing it is reaching into our pockets and snatching our money for the fun of it, or maybe because they just like being mean.

I don’t know of any examples where a government has collected money for no reason at all. There are countless examples of our taxes being poorly used, but that’s entirely different.

We may or may not agree with the carbon tax but it has a very specific purpose. It’s supposed to be a price on pollution, as Justin Trudeau puts it. And rebates on other parts of the household budget are supposed to make it neutral or even better.

Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. But a tax grab? Hardly.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7056 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on EDITORIAL – What is this ‘tax grab’ so many people complain about?

  1. Dawne Taylor // April 11, 2019 at 3:49 PM // Reply

    I don’t mind paying taxes at all because it’s our taxes that pay for services that benefit the common good – health care, education, environmental protection, etc. The Scandinavian countries have some of the highest taxes in the world – and they are consistently rated as the happiest countries with free university education, pharmacare, etc. . Don’t think that’s coincidence! As for the carbon tax, economists (and even Shell the oil giant) agree it is the best way to reduce both pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.

  2. Natural gas to heat my house and yours is now taxed at 122% of its cost which translates to 151/2% of your total heating costs not to mention the GST on the carbon tax and oh wait it will go up again next 1 Apr. That is a tax grab no matter how you put the lipstick on the pig. We as BCers pay the highest carbon tax and yet oh my, supposedly, the lowest provincial income tax but add all the other taxes in and that argument dies really fast.

  3. Chris Wright // April 11, 2019 at 12:51 PM // Reply

    I wouldn’t have any problem with the carbon tax if it was actually being used to fund green projects and accelerate our slow weening from fossil fuels. I do however take exception to it when it goes in to general revenue. This means it funds a whole slew of government activities, many that I don’t agree with.

    It’s just a way to shore up funds that at best is unethical. To me, it’s no different than raiding from ICBC or BC Hydro like the Liberals did. It just obfuscates how our government takes our money to buy votes.

    It is not an insignificant tax. After listening to a podcast that mentioned it, we checked their facts and found to our dismay that yes, our carbon tax costs more than the natural gas we are purchasing. That’s absurd and yes, a tax grab.

    • Chris Wright, I’d seriously question your percentage stats for the “tax on natural gas.” I suspect fake news on that one.
      “Tax grab” gets used so indiscriminately that it’s really a useless term. Remember photo radar? It was called a tax grab by that reckless segment of society that just didn’t want to get caught speeding. Why was it a tax grab just because so many people were breaking the law and getting caught?

  4. I personally welcome all kind of taxes on all discretionary items we needlessly surround ourselves with. Excessive consumption just because we, for some selfish reasons, have become accustomed to needs to be deterred. The environment cannot be “taxed” endlessly!

  5. George S Duncan // April 11, 2019 at 8:39 AM // Reply

    I am so disappointed with this communist perspective, this desperate attempt to extend yet another pound of credibility to this absurd Liberal government or B.C. carbon-taxing CCF — er, I mean, the rebranded NDP.
    A tax grab takes money for frivolous or foolish causes without the people’s consent.
    How in the world is it possible that this would be questioned?
    I’m shocked. Not like Captain Renault in Casablanca. I mean truly shocked.

  6. Ken Mcclelland // April 11, 2019 at 8:33 AM // Reply

    It’s a tax grab when the revenue neutrality of the tax is abandoned as it now has been in BC, with the money going into general fund to be spent as the government sees fit. I’m betting it won’t be long before this takes place in the rest of Canada too. The cash-cow potential of this tax will be too great for governments to resist.

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