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Provincial employees' impact on the economy

letter-sta

I read with interest the piece you ran regarding the impact of the 180,000 public employees have on the economy. There is no question, the arithmetic presented is correct. However, I think there are some numbers missing from the equation.

What has been the increase in disposable income for these employees with the cancellation of the carbon tax? I know I notice it. (And isn't money left in your pocket the same as a raise?)

When a government is in a deficit budget and must pay interest on the borrowed money, we all pay the extra. And when you talk about having to support a family, that family is who will have to pay unless we do something now.

What really concerns me is all the talk of a provincial sales tax. I understand all the accountants who say it is the most "fair" and "least painful" of the resolutions to our debt. For those who have not lived with a PST, thank your lucky stars you have avoided it this far. When I came to Alberta to own my own business, the "Alberta Advantage" was, and still is, no PST.

Simple arithmetic. If you make $100,000.00, and get a three-per-cent raise, you now get an extra $3,000 to spend on your family and boost the economy. That is, after you give $1,000 to the tax man for income tax.

Now, if there is PST, and like most provinces seven per cent and above (hidden in the acronym HST – thanks to the NO GST promise of Jean Chrétien!) you have to pay:

$3.50 per week ($182 per year) more for gasoline – more if you get more than 50 litres per week;
$7 for each $100 of clothes or shoes ($126 per year for an average family of four);
$7 for each oil change ($21 per year, per car);
$210 more per year for eating out;
$1.40 more per bottle of wine and $2.80 per case of beer (do your own math on these);
$52.50 for a set of snow tires (if you get the four-for-three deal);
$32.50 in union dues (based on 1.25 per cent of your new $3,000).

We are at $674.00 out of your take-home pay, and we haven't even looked at laundry soap, hotel, airline, concert tickets, hockey tickets, school supplies, utilities, and on and on. (And for your children, on and on)

You also have to remember, those on fixed income (including AISH recipients) would have to pay out of their benefits, thus reducing amounts for food and shelter.

I believe the greater percentage of the public employees work hard, care and are concerned about their families and their fellow Albertans. In today's situation, would it not be a better negotiation to ask the government for a commitment to no PST (or HST please!)?

Paying more in taxes out of your take-home pay at the till is not more for the economy.

It's about more money in your pocket.

Alan Otway, Morinville




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