A Tax Is A Tax, No Matter What You Call It.

Blog - No Comments » - Posted on July, 26 at 7:35 am

When are politicians going to get it through their heads that it doesn’t matter if they call it a tax, a fee, a levy, a surcharge or something else?

As long as they’re responsible for imposing it and it comes out of our wallets, it amounts to the same thing.

It’s either a tax, or it’s a tax in all but name.

The latest ridiculous argument by Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government is the new eco fees on thousands of consumer products — now being retooled after the Liberals snuck them in July 1 — weren’t a tax.

For heaven’s sake, who cares what they’re called?

What they mean is the government made another huge grab for our wallets.

As the Sun’s Antonella Artuso recently revealed, Ontario government ministries are being privately urged by their political masters to come up with new “fees” to pay for programs and to service Ontario’s $19-billion deficit.

Some proposals are infuriating, such as charging extra when people use government kiosks to access services.

“Kiosks are considered a premium service for which an additional amount is charged to acknowledge the cost of the service above the normal delivery standard,” ministries are advised in the document, “Other Revenue Technical Guide.”

“This may result in the total fee charged being higher than the fee to deliver the same service over the counter.”

Huh?

A citizen does the work of a civil servant by accessing a government service himself via a kiosk, and he gets charged more for doing so?

That’s ridiculous and a blatant and unfair cash grab.

It’s also the exact opposite of how the system should work, in that it should be cheaper to use a kiosk.

Resorting to ever-expanding and ever-increasing fees and levies also puts the lie to government claims about “holding the line” on taxes.

New eco fees, higher hydro bills, a “harmonized” sales tax, higher charges for accessing government services, it all amounts to the same thing — making taxpayers poorer.

It’s not just at Queen’s Park.

Toronto’s 4% annual property tax hike becomes a meaningless figure to taxpayers when they’re simultaneously being hit with a 9% hike in their water bills, a surcharge on garbage collection, TTC fare hikes, new vehicle licensing fees, land-transfer taxes and ever-increasing charges for everything from on-street parking permits to recreation.

There’s only one pocket for these costs to be paid out of.

Yes, we have to pay for government services, but who’s keeping track of the big picture, which is not just about taxes and tax hikes, but the size of the total hit being imposed by governments on the public?

Obviously, no one, and that’s not only bad for taxpayers, it’s an example of irresponsible government.

Politicians who think they’ve solved a revenue problem by calling it something other than a tax, are politicians who need to be sent packing by the voters.

Fast.

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