The Great Tax Shift

It looks like people are not warming up to a carbon tax.  I guess you can’t blame them when the price of food and gas and pretty much everything else is going up.  I heard on the news yesterday that even the price of shipping is going up (Canada Post page).

Compared to the other alternatives of controlling pollution through economic tools, it seems like the carbon tax is the easiest to implement and costs less in terms of managing.  A cap and trade that the NDP in BC and nationally propose would act in a similar fashion, but then you have to create a lot of rules and regulations to manage all the companies spewing pollution into the environment.

The Sierra Club created a nice document for the election (Voters Guide to the Climate Crisis Election) that summarized the differences between a carbon tax and a cap and trade system.  They also outline what each federal political party supports and how they would implement their enviro-economic policies.  The election might be over, but it is still document to read over to learn more about these different enviro-economic tools.

The Tyee had a recent article on a poll conducted just before the election.  The poll was done by Angus McAllister.  They framed their questions in a certain way and they were able to get support for a carbon tax that isn’t called a carbon tax.  They simply named this new tax structure as a tax shift from income to pollution.  Makes sense.  Of course, you have to be wary of how any pollster words their questions.  It depends on who is paying for the poll to be conducted and what their goal is.  However, it does show that people can support a tax shift.

Personally, I would love to see my income tax go down.  That’s why I think Harper was wrong to lower the GST and keep income tax up.  Maybe, he just wants us to spend more.  I don’t know.  I can save on the GST by simply not spending.  Income tax, I can’t avoid.

Similarly with the tax shift from income to pollution, we can look for ways to reduce our tax by not spending on items that pollute more.  I’d rather have more money from my pay cheque and then decide if I want to spend or save more at the cash register.


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