Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Alberta Taxes

I found this Jan 09 article in the Edmonton Sun and I must say, I was surprised. The article calls for adding Sales Tax for the Province. How do you feel about that? In light of the abuses of the system that I have seen personally, I do not want to fund them more. Even given the fact I did not want the Alberta Health Care Insurance premiums to be stopped, I also don't want to turn around and pay sales tax instead. It's the principle of the whole thing. It is also important to note that each province has it's own income tax level plus the federal level, and these are then added together on your pay slip (at least they are on any that I have ever had) so you don't really see what you are paying for provincial and federal taxes already. THIS CHART shows what the 2009 tax rates are per province (bottom of page). If you notice, Alberta has a straight across the board 10% income tax where 8 of the other 12 provinces/territories have LESS than 10% for their first tier of taxation (ranging from 4% to 9.8%), so while we don't penalize people for earning higher wages (ex 17.95% in NB for those earning over $116,000/yr), we do tax 10% on 'taxable' income for every level. Do we have to raise that? Should we start penalizing higher wage brackets when the federal govt already does that? Should we force people to pay more taxes to help those who do not earn 'enough'? What about the people peppered through that group who can't be bothered to work? There has to be a huge upheaval of the 'helping' systems before I want to contribute even more to them. Sorry, but it is true. Don't forget that I have worked for over 14 years with low income families and I have seen first hand how most of them were fiddling the system in one way or another. That is a fact, that is not me being a bitch. I was a low income parent myself for a decade, so I am NOT trashing all low income families - take that idea out of your head right now.

With utility and just about every other bill cost rising, that takes up more of my money as it is. Take away more tax by adding 3-7% and I just might not purchase bigger ticket items that I have been thinking about. How does that help the economy? The gist I hear from people who suggest tax hikes is that people soon get used to it and don't even notice it anymore... Is that not a cop out? Of course we get used to it - because we HAVE to get used to it. We don't have a choice. Alberta has managed to stay afloat without sales tax, enough so that the govt decided to remove health care premiums (stupid idea in my opinion)... so I refuse to listen to anyone who suggests we are in trouble and need to pay more taxes. We need to gather up our programs and re-evaluate them. We need to demand changes that actually make sense, and we need to get rid of this Robin Hood 'take from the rich to give to the poor' attitude. I know a few people that make disgusting amounts of money lol, it's practically coming out of their ears, but I do not think they should pay more so that I can have more. That never ever crosses my mind, and I do not understand why it crosses others' minds. All that has ever crossed my mind is wishing that the people who are scamming the system would get caught and be charged with fraud, and pay back the money they stole from the programs/tax payers. But now, people are calling for us to pay even more into various programs and systems that are already stifled by too many 'regulators' and too many abusers.

You know, like the guy who hurt himself at work and was off on worker's comp here in the city, but then he went to play LACROSSE, and hurt himself even more and wanted the govt (aka You and Me) to pay for extended disability leave. Then had the audacity to freak out when he was denied (thankfully he was denied, but he did still receive disabilty for a problem that couldn't have been that bad since he was out playing a very physical sport while collecting your tax money). That happened last year and he is still bellyaching about the injustices of life. Oh BOO HOO. How about how I still went to work when I had pneumonia and a partially fluid collapsed left lung because I had two kids to feed. Did I ask the govt for money? Ummm no. I figured I was getting enough already with daycare subsidy and a bit of help with my house, so I wasn't going to drain the system of even more money, even though I could have.

Or the woman we hired at the daycare one year who waited for her 3 months probationary period to be over, then she literally walked out on her lunch break and never came back. She filed to collect unemployment because she was 'fired' (perhaps my boss' mistake for putting that on the form instead of 'quit' but we did not receive official notice from the woman, and in order to hire a new worker we had to officially fire the old one). She is a habitual EI collector, only working jobs for the past 10+ years until she can be fired (by doing something ridiculous on purpose) and then collect more money yet again. Over and over. THIS is what needs to be sorted out before I want to lose more of my children's food money, more of my rent money, to help pay into those kinds of systems.

Or how about we discuss my family. My dad died in 1996 at the age of 49, after working for the federal govt (as a soldier) and then the provincial govt for over 30 years. These lovely taxes took half of his pension before my mother got to use it. And she gets taxed AGAIN every year as income on it. What's this? The same amount of money taxed 3 times? Her income from his pension will NEVER increase, so what happens if sales tax gets added? Sure she is 'saving' $44 a month right now from health care, but what's the point of removing that if a sales tax is considered? What would sales tax be applied to? All food or just some? Gas (like we don't pay enough already!!)? Utilities? Her condo fees? How much more would sales tax have a FIXED INCOME individual paying? Mom is not 65 yet but unable to work (and when she did after dad died, the govt made her PAY IN on income tax. Dad's pension is less than $1500 a month, it was not a gigantic amount in the slightest). By our country's standards, my mom is below the poverty level, so isn't this who the sales tax would hit most? Not just low income families also having to pay more money for the items they desperately need, but for fixed income people, spouses of dead tax payers who contributed to the province for decades, etc. THAT is who a sales tax would hit hardest, would it not? So for all the blah blah about putting money into important programs, I know it's all baloney. It's not taking from the rich and giving to the poor, it's taxing EVERYONE, even the lowest earning bracket. Is that responsible? Just because everyone else is doing it we have to as well? Whatever.

2 comments:

  1. You must admit you should have seen the writing on the wall. The government takes from one hand, and gives to the other. So when they discontinue one tax...example health premiums being canceled. They have to recoup their costs some where else. Their wages will still get supplemented don't kid yourself! The fat cats continue to gain weight. I propose a flat tax like they do in Europe. It works, and they have a better social system then we do! Just some food for thought from the mind of a pondering Ape!

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  2. It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that the govt would try to play tricks and trade one tax for another, but it surprises me when regular citizens like the writer of that article actually call for more taxes in order to fund programs that are in need of serious restructuring!


    PS I have lived in 2 countries in Europe and their social systems may appear to be better on the surface but there is much hiding in the mire. I did some checking a month or two ago and found that the homeless rates in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, etc are almost as high as here and the US in cities. They have mentally disabled poor people sleeping rough on the streets just like we do. And, just for example, a report I heard about a couple of weeks ago listed Britain as the lowest in all industrialized countries for female cancer survival - with the 3 main reasons being length of waiting time for treatment, red tape to go through, and quality of care. My friend had to wait a year for an MRI on her teen son's spine (unknown lump) and was in a complete panic when the weather was bad the day of his test, she was worried they would have to wait another year.

    There are pros and cons to everything and it must also be remembered that some countries in Eastern Europe went completely bankrupt with their social systems. If you go to the Habitat for Humanity website and look up countries such as Poland, it always says something in each article about how the countries are trying to crawl their way out of failed socialist policy.

    I actually wanted a two tier system in Alberta for health care. Those who could pay more could go right ahead and pay for their care themselves and with insurance. Those who could not could stay on the public system and pay a premium.

    I am not quite sure when and how so many people decided that everyone deserves to have FREE everything. I believe children and disabled people should be able to because they cannot always help themselves. And elderly people seeing as they already contributed to the system for more years than the rest of us have even been alive. But anyone in between, why should you get FREE health care and free everything else you can think of? It's a bit ridiculous really and it is directly contributing to the economic problems. Resources are stretched too thinly, and it is equally ridiculous to assume that taking more money from working people is going to solve the problem. All that happens is even more programs crop up that need funding too, and we are stretched thinly yet again. Vicious cycle, and the only way to stop those things is for someone to BREAK it!

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These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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