An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
MY QUESTION ABOUT TAX GRABS last week brought a lot of helpful responses. I suggested that the federal government’s carbon tax didn’t qualify — others disagreed.
The most common definition of a tax grab favoured by those who responded seems to be that any time a government takes our money and doesn’t use it for the purpose for which it was intended, that’s a tax grab.
I did mention in the editorial that governments often waste or misuse tax dollars. The $8-million temporary skating rink in front of the Parliament Buildings during Canada 150 would be but one example.
Then there are tax giveaways, in which recipients benefit from our collective, though unwilling, largesse. The federal Liberals have now provided a timely example.
In a truly astounding act of generosity, the Liberals announced with some fanfare a $12-million gift to food-store giant Loblaws for energy efficient refrigerator upgrades.
We don’t see the Loblaws brand on super markets in our neck of the woods, but they’re a huge player elsewhere. In fact, Loblaws was involved in the bread pricing controversy last year.
Given the track record of the Liberals lately, one would think this government would be a little more careful about such things. By all accounts, Loblaws is hardly struggling and hardly in need of a public subsidy — it had net earnings of about $800 million last year.
Green initiatives are a good thing but there are many places that $12 million could have been better spent, preferably directed towards average folks instead of wealthy corporations. Maybe something like a further boost to rebates for the purchase of hybrid or all-electric vehicles, which would be good for people, business, and the environment.
Let big corporations buy their own refrigerators.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.