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).
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