Canada Kicks Ass
So Confederation is sticking it to Alberta, right? Not so fa


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DrCaleb @ Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:15 am

BeaverFever BeaverFever:
But you get your refund back at the end of the same tax year it was withheld so you’re not without it for long and it doesn’t enter the federal revenue system.

I was without it for a good portion of the year, where it did not earn me any income. ;)

One of the advantages of being a private contractor all those years is I got to declare my income annually and pay it then. My income tax then worked for me for the rest of the year, earning income in a hedge fund or GICs or something. Not someone else. And Capital Gains is taxed at a lower rate than regular income, so there is that bonus too.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind paying taxes for the services I demand. I just don't like paying a penny more than I have to.


BeaverFever @ Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:27 am

I think in most cases the interest is going to be a nominal amount. I notice they do add interest if the refund isn’t cashed within 120 days of the end of the tax year or after 30 days from the date the return was filed if the return was filed late. At any rate the overpayments don’t fund federal spending because they don’t become revenue available to the government.


DrCaleb @ Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:43 am

If I have to pay $10k in tax in 12 months, it's better for me to put that money in some account that will have it earn money for 11 3/4 months. Preferably in an account that can be taxed as Capital Gains. Then I can earn a couple hundred bucks, and when I withdraw it, it gets taxed a lower rate than regular income.

Lots of money saved and earned, and the government gets none of it. ;)


Thanos @ Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:37 pm

DrCaleb DrCaleb:

One of the advantages of being a private contractor all those years is I got to declare my income annually and pay it then.

Been a while since I was last in the system but I thought they'd been cracking down hard the last four or five years on annual payments and putting in more penalties on those who weren't doing their monthly tax and CPP kickbacks. :?


bootlegga @ Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:57 pm

BeaverFever BeaverFever:
Globe editorial: So Confederation is sticking it to Alberta, right? Not so fast - The Globe and Mail

Two decades ago, after the federal Liberals won a third consecutive majority, a group of aggrieved Albertans led by Stephen Harper called for “firewalls” around the province to guard against intrusions from Ottawa.

The demands included replacing the Canada Pension Plan with an Alberta-only version, and ditching the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for a provincial force.

Those ideas faded when another oil boom arrived. But after Mr. Harper became prime minister in 2006, he made some Alberta-friendly fiscal changes. He rethought how health funding is distributed from Ottawa to the provinces – it’s now on a strict per capita basis. He also changed the formula that calculates equalization, the constitutionally mandated program that sends federal support to lower-income provinces, and capped the size of the equalization pool.

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The big winner from all of that, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, was Alberta. By 2019-20, federal transfers to Alberta were $9.1-billion, close to triple the level of the mid-2000s, before Mr. Harper took office.

Last fall, however, with the federal Liberals back in power, Alberta was once more aggrieved and feeling short-changed. Oil prices were down, pipelines were in limbo, and Premier Jason Kenney, a long-time senior minister in the Harper cabinet, demanded a “fair deal” from Ottawa. He established a panel to lay out grievances and offer up ideas.

The report landed last week, and it is filled with new renditions of familiar songs. In his official response to his panel, Mr. Kenney said “feelings of frustration, anger and fear” are alive and well in Alberta. That is true, though he did not mention that he is feeding those feelings.

Among the panel’s ideas are those old chestnuts: a provincial pension plan and a provincial police force. It’s odd that the panel backed these, since its own polling shows a solid majority of Albertans opposed.

Other demands include the House of Commons moving to a stricter representation-by-population. Alberta would gain five seats. The province has a legitimate beef here, and it’s one shared by British Columbia and Ontario, which would gain three and seven seats.

But thanks to a redistribution of seats late in the Harper government, the House of Commons is fairer than ever to big provinces. It’s already close to rep-by-pop – and getting any closer would mean taking away seats from smaller provinces, such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and would in some cases require constitutional amendments.

The central demand is another old one: equalization.

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When Mr. Kenney campaigned to become premier last year, he promised a referendum on the subject. The panel calls for the ballot question to be the removal of equalization from the Constitution. The referendum, set for next year, is of course pantomime. Whatever the result, the Constitution will not change, since that would require the backing of Ottawa and the other provinces.

Even so, Mr. Kenney fans the flames of anger in Alberta, stoking the belief that the province is being cheated. Reality is more complex. The panel itself notes: “Provincial governments do not contribute financially to [equalization] and the regime does not affect their ability to raise tax revenues.”

The reason it looks to some people that Alberta contributes so much to equalization, and to federal programs in general, is because individual Albertans have long had higher incomes than their fellow Canadians. In 2018, even after a decline during the long oil bust, Alberta’s median after-tax income was $72,700. Ontario was a distant second at $66,200. The national figure was $61,400. Albertans are like a family that, due to a higher income, pays more income tax than their neighbours. It’s that simple.

Aggravation over equalization is a national pastime, played for personal gain by various provinces at different times. In Alberta, it’s a bipartisan sport. The previous NDP government claimed the program “doesn’t work for Alberta.” But Mr. Kenney wields this resentment as a weapon, playing to the base of his United Conservative Party. His panel leaned in to the incendiary, demanding action or else “support for secession will only grow.”

Rather than trying to inflame the situation, Mr. Kenney would better serve Albertans by toning down the rhetoric. Can Ottawa consider modifications to the equalization formula? Yes. But entirely ditching the program is, as everyone knows, legally, politically and constitutionally impossible. ... t-so-fast/

Equalization is just the latest of gripes towards central Canada from Albertans.

Some of these gripes, like the National Policy and National Energy Policy are fair issues to complain over, but equalization isn't one IMHO. It is routinely mis-represented by the right and politicians here so they can tilt at Ottawa windmills instead of dealing with the economic issues we have in Alberta.

As Trevor Toombe noted, our deficit is a choice, not a side effect of equalization.

Politicians here know they can rile up the commoners against Ottawa elites and taxes instead of doing the right thing: either cutting services to the bone so there is no deficit, or raising taxes to pay for the services Albertans want.

Jim Prentice hit the nail on the head when he said Albertans want to have their cake (low taxes) and eat it too (lots of services). He may have come off as arrogant, but he was bang on in his analysis.



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