Election platforms lacking key components

Regina - Monday, October 20, 2003 - by: David MacLean, Saskatchewan Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation


If you take a little from the Liberal Party, some from the Saskatchewan Party, and a smidgen from the NDP, you create a 'Frankenstein' election platform possessing power that is somewhat greater than the sum of its parts. You have a workable but largely incomplete plan to revitalise and grow Saskatchewan.




From the NDP platform (and it is slim pickings indeed), we glean the indexation of tax brackets and credits. Indexation of brackets eliminates a form of stealth taxation, where the government profits as inflation pushes wages higher, and more workers reside in higher tax brackets (AKA "bracket creep").



no NDP
tax relief

Actually we're being a little generous with the NDP here, as these aren't really election promises. These are commitments made in the last election and recycled for use in the current one. Aside from the leftovers, the NDP offers nothing in the way of tax relief.




From the Liberals we borrow their tax credits for university graduates aimed at forgiving student loans. It's funny how some political parties use the "tax-cut-for-economic-stimulus" argument only when it's convenient for them. The NDP used the same argument when they reduced oil and gas royalties and stimulated a gusher of oil and gas activity (read: jobs) in Saskatchewan. What they refuse to admit is that the same logic applies to the rest of the economy.



cut taxes

The only sustainable way to stimulate the economy is to lift the burden of taxation off individuals and job-creating businesses. Our politicians recognize this dynamic only when it's convenient and painless for them.




The Saskatchewan Party's platform offers a better selection of tax cuts to choose from. Their approach to encourage university grads to stick around is to increase their provincial tax exemption, which is simpler than the Liberal plan. The Saskatchewan Party promise to halve the stifling corporate capital gains tax would be a great step forward, and making Saskatchewan the first jurisdiction in Canada without a small business tax is intriguing.



relief on

The Saskatchewan Party's commitment to reduce school taxes by 15 per cent and making them tax deductible is a move toward addressing rising property taxes. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation would like to see all the parties go further and reduce school taxes by 40 per cent over four years. The Liberal Party gets the nod on this one with their vow to reduce school taxes by 30 per cent. The problem is that taxpayers would have to wait 10 years for the cuts to take effect. Sorry, that won't cut it. This plan ignores the plight of drought-and BSE-stricken farmers and ranchers whose biggest concern is getting through the winter. Tax relief in 2014 doesn't help.




Taxpayer protection legislation still missing. Still, our Frankenstein platform derived from parts of lesser platforms remains incomplete. It falls short of the kind of change needed to kick start Saskatchewan. And there is one more disturbing omission - taxpayer protection legislation.




As yet, none of the parties have proposed legislation that requires explicit voter consent for new taxes or tax increases. Nor have they proposed balanced budget legislation that applies to all of government. Nobody has come forward with a debt repayment schedule. Taxpayer protection legislation is the norm in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. It's time for Saskatchewan to get in line.




An election platform isn't a platform without a solid foundation of fiscal responsibility. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation challenges all Saskatchewan parties to come forward and pledge to enact taxpayer protection legislation.



David MacLean
Federal Director


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