Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Conservative MP Kelly Block wasting taxpayer money on flyers promoting reckless tax cuts as federal deficit nears $56 billion

When the Harper Conservatives first took power in February 2006, they inherited a surplus of $13.2 billion from the previous Liberal government. [Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada Fiscal Year 2005–2006]

But less than three years later there was almost nothing left.

Following a meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Saskatoon on December 17, 2008, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters there would be a deficit of at least $5 billion in 2009. In fact, the finance ministry was projecting deficits for the next three years. [Flaherty admits economy looks bleak (Toronto Star, December 18, 2008)]

Just three weeks earlier, on November 27, 2008, Flaherty tabled an economic statement in the House of Commons saying the federal government would post a surplus each year over the next five years. [Flaherty projects slim surplus, but warns deficit possible (Canwest News Service, November 27, 2008)]

On September 10, 2009, Flaherty was the guest speaker at a lunch hosted by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. He delivered a fiscal update showing a record $55.9 billion deficit in 2009, a massive increase from a projected $33.7 billion in the January budget.

The cumulative deficit is expected to be $164 billion over a six year period, ending in 2014-15.

According to the Times-Colonist, in earlier projections, the government said the deficit would be eliminated by 2013-14. Now Flaherty was telling the folks in Victoria that the government’s plan was to reduce the deficit to “a manageable” $5.2 billion by 2014-15. He told reporters the deficit could be eliminated with restraint measures, without spending cuts, and reiterated Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s pledge not to raise taxes. [Flaherty: Deficit will hit $56 billion, no tax hikes (Times-Colonist, September 11, 2009)]

Then along came Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Kevin Page, who blew the Harper government’s shell game apart with reports on January 13 and February 18, 2010, exposing the Tories damaging tax policies and contradicting Flaherty’s strategy for eliminating the deficit.

Page said due to tax cuts – primarily the cut to the GST and corporate taxes – and an aging population, the federal government’s structural balance is projected to deteriorate from essentially a balanced position in 2007-08 to a structural deficit of $18.9 billion in 2013-14.

A “structural deficit” means that government revenues continually fall short of expenditures, even when the economy is running smooth.

“The Government’s current fiscal structure is not sustainable over the long term. That is, under the current fiscal structure, the Government’s debt relative to GDP is projected to increase on a substantial and sustained basis over the long term,” the PBO’s Feb. 18 report states.

“To close the fiscal gap, permanent fiscal actions – either through increased taxes or reduced program spending, or some combination of both – amounting to 1.0 and 1.9 per cent of GDP are required.”

Page told reporters on January 13, 2010, it would be “very hard” for the government to eliminate the looming structural deficit simply by curbing spending growth, rather than actually cutting spending or raising taxes. [Older population could lead to chronic deficits: watchdog (Canwest News Service, January 13, 2010)]

If there’s one good thing about Flaherty’s 2009 budget (tabled January 27, 2009) it’s that it contains a table showing just how deeply the Conservatives have cut taxes since forming government in 2006.

By 2013, the Conservatives’ tax cuts will result in a loss in federal revenue of $220 billion by 2014. This includes $76.8 billion in GST, $83.1 billion in personal income tax, and a whopping $60.2 billion in corporate tax.

This is money that won’t be available for things like provincial and territorial health care, post-secondary education, child care, social programs, green energy policies, affordable housing, transit or improving employment insurance.

Seemingly oblivious to the fiscal train wreck is Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar Conservative MP Kelly Block who continues to waste thousands of taxpayer dollars on mail outs to constituents promoting the Harper government’s reckless tax cuts.

Block’s most recent partisan flyer, delivered to riding residents the week of February 22, 2010, touts the Conservative government’s economic action plan as “Lower Taxes. Good for you. Good for Canada.”

Block is careful to focus only on “personal tax relief” and avoids altogether the financial nightmare caused by cuts to the GST and corporate taxes. Not once is the word deficit mentioned.

Unfortunately, with all power concentrated in the prime minister’s office it has reduced cabinet ministers and lowly backbenchers like Block to mere ciphers whose only purpose seems to be to attend tightly scripted photo ops and churn out party propaganda no matter how damaging the message might be.

Conservative tax cuts since 2006 (Budget 2009)


At 7:02 AM, Blogger 傻眼 said...



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