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FORSETH – The Armchair Mayor asked what a tax grab is – here’s the answer

WHAT IS A TAX GRAB, the Armchair Mayor asked, in an editorial, where he also commented that ‘TAX GRAB’ is such a nasty term.

I’ll now present an edited version of his editorial, but I also encourage you to read the full commentary (CLICK HERE).  Now let me begin by stating I’m not sure if he’s playing the devil’s advocate, or sincere in asking … or just stirring things up for a reaction.  Regardless, here is some of his commentary, upon which I will comment:

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 somethingthe new federal carbon tax now in effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as the current high gas prices in BC. 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 …. right-wing columnists are particularly indignant about it … 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 … government is … reaching into our pockets and snatching our money for the fun of it, or maybe because they just like being mean.

NO MEL … that is not what many of us, who use the term “Tax Grab” are referring to. But rather than speak for others though, I’ll just speak for myself.  To me a Tax Grab is any time the government states they are taxing us, and wanting us to pay a fee, for what they indicate is for a specific purpose.

It just so happens that the Carbon Tax is one of those things.  Oh, pardon me, it’s now more politically correct to refer to it as a tax on pollution.

Where does that money go, however?  Well, in most instances it simply goes into a black hole called general revenue.

Taxes on alcohol and tobacco are called sin taxes.  Those products are taxed much higher than other retail products because of the harmful effects they have on those who partake in them.

Does all of that money, however, go to the extra care needed by say, the Health Ministry, for when individual gets sick with cancer and lung disease?  NO – it goes into general revenue where a much smaller amount of what is collocated is spent caring for those with cancer.

People who become alcoholics from excessive drinking, or a pre-disposition to becoming an alcoholic, also cost the medical system more … they are a high financial expense for needed addiction recovery services, mental health services, and more.

With new extra taxes on legal pot, where is that money going?  Not into the same services I just mentioned — which are necessary for those addicted to alcohol and tobacco products.  Instead they go into General Revenue where again a much smaller portion of what is collected goes into the Health Ministry … and the Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions.

WHERE DOES THE REST GO, YOU ASK?

Well, as far as I can see it doesn’t go towards paying down the debt and it doesn’t go towards providing the services required and necessary, and it certainly is NOT doing a single thing towards reducing carbon emissions; which continue to rise no matter what the government says.

NO, instead it goes towards programs the government can pat themselves on the back for doing.  Many times, but not always, they’re ones which often in the past people did for themselves, or raised money within the community to support and provide (hence no rake off by government to pay for administration and wages).

The government gives grants towards Boy Scouts and Girl Guides … community service organizations … reforestation and raising of salmon by school children.  These and many more — all with flashy Media Events to announce the government’s largesse.

Or the government reaches into our pockets for our money, and then uses it for announcements and media events to let us know they are buying new beds for seniors’ housing and long-term care facilities … washrooms on the side of the highway at the few remaining rest stops they haven’t closed … and even to announce they’ve funded a playground / playground equipment at a school.  Aren’t schools SUPPOSED TO HAVE THOSE THINGS?

All the while the costs of what government takes from us, or as Mel called it, reaching into our pockets and snatching our money, is leaving us poorer and poorer.

When government taxes us claiming it’s for a certain need, all the while knowing only a portion will actually reach the so-called need, that’s a Tax Grab. That’s reaching into our pockets and snatching our money.

Far too often, Mel, that is what government does, and it’s done far too long!

You also went on to say that, “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.”

Maybe not for no reason at all, Mel, but definitely they have taken more from us than what was needed, or for what they claimed was the intended purpose!

You said that the carbon tax has a very specific purpose … a price on pollution.  And you then continued with the following comment, “And rebates on other parts of the household budget are supposed to make it neutral or even better”.

If the carbon tax is being rebated back to us, and as Justin Trudeau indicated, more in some cases than was paid by individuals, how is this TAX GRAB supposed to work?

How can a tax on pollution, that is rebated back, somehow magically lower carbon emissions and levels?  And better yet, who is paying for all of the costs to administer this TAX GRAB, Ooops I mean a tax on pollution?  They can’t simply be coming out of thin air.

It’s no wonder Justin Trudeau’s ‘sunny days’ are adding BILLION AND BILLIONS in deficits and debt.

What is a Tax Grab, you asked, Mel … it’s all of the above.  It’s taking our money and wasting it … it’s taking our money and using it for other purposes other than what was intended … and it’s taking our money so that government can many times glorify itself.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More

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About Mel Rothenburger (6933 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.

4 Comments on FORSETH – The Armchair Mayor asked what a tax grab is – here’s the answer

  1. Nel DeWit Mitchell-Kloubek Sarrasin // April 14, 2019 at 8:52 PM // Reply

    Love this reply! Another thing the taxes or fees (whatever label you put on them) are used for is increasing the politicians wages while the rest of us just get poorer by the day.

  2. Pierre … I already gave my two cents worth, however given your comment stating my ‘worn out point regarding government expenditures’ …. you are incorrect if you think I do not believe in a taxation system. I firmly believe in taxes which are used for education, healthcare, roads, and a host of other things. I DO NOT however believe in being taxed for a ‘specific thing’ and then that tax money is not used for what it’s stated intention was. That, first of all, is lying to us as taxpayers … and secondly it is indeed a ‘tax grab’

    Hope that answered your question(s) Pierre 🙂

    • No you didn’t…one point I have raised is about giving a basic amount of energy to everyone for a better (aka political) price. After that more taxes pile up. But I think ultimately we need to do away with the current version of the capitalist system which is not serving the hordes nor the environment well. Corporations need to pay substantially more taxes and cannot be allowed the liberties they enjoy at the present moment.

  3. You have a point, an easy, obvious and worn out point regarding government expenditures. However I am all for taxing consumption and especially energy waste and environmental pollution. With energy, since we all need some of it to meet basic needs like transportation and home comfort a set per capita amount could be even tax-exempt but after that the taxes should be quite high.
    That is my basic two-cents worth of opinion…what about you Allan?

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