'The suggestion we often hear, that taxes are a burden, hides the reality that our taxes fund public services that make Canada’s standard of living among the very best.'
Ottawa (15 April 2009) - The majority of Canadians enjoy a higher quality of life because public services funded by their taxes come at a solid bargain, says a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
The study concludes that an average middle-income family in Canada would have to spend more than half its pay cheque to buy health care, education and the other 'free' public services now paid for with tax dollars.
Canada’s Quiet Bargain: The benefits of public spending responds to incessant calls for tax cuts and concludes public services make a significant contribution to the majority of Canadians’ standard of living – worth at least 50% of their income.
“What passes for a tax cut debate in Canada is really only half a debate,” says economist Hugh Mackenzie, the study’s co-author and CCPA research associate.
“Our taxes pay for services that are extremely valuable to Canadians. The suggestion we often hear, that taxes are a burden, hides the reality that our taxes fund public services that make Canada’s standard of living among the very best.”
The study shows middleâincome Canadian families enjoy public services worth about $41,000 – or 63% of their income. Even households earning $80,000-$90,000 a year enjoy public services benefits equivalent to about half of their income.
The study also shows 80% of Canadians would be better off if the federal government had not cut the GST; 75% would be better off if their provincial governments invested in public services instead of broad-based income tax cuts; and 88% would be better off without federal cuts to capital gains taxes.
“Tax cuts are always made to sound like they’re free money to middle-income Canadians – they are anything but,” says Mackenzie. “We’re far better off with the public services our taxes fund than we are with tax cuts.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
Canada's Quiet Bargain: The benefits from public spending - pdf