July 8, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work for You

Take a walk through your day. What public services do you value most?

Is it the clean water you use to make your morning coffee or to brush your teeth ? Is it the sidewalks and roadways you use to get to work or school or to go shopping? Is it the local park or the provincial park where you love to camp? Maybe it is the school you or your children attend.

It turns out that we get a lot more from our tax dollars than we think.

For the vast majority of Canada’s population, public services are, to put it bluntly, the best deal they are ever going to get.
More than two-thirds of Canadians’ benefit from public services adds up to more than 50% of their household’s total earned income.
Looking at Canadians in median income households, their benefit from public services amounts to $41,000 — equivalent to roughly 63% of their total income.
That's what two researchers found when they tallied up the value of public services. They also found that tax cuts are hardly the bargain they are touted to be.
... an astounding 80% of Canadians would have been better off if the Harper government had transferred money to local governments to pay for more and better public services instead of cutting the GST by 1%.
Canada's Quiet Bargain: The benefits of public spending by Richard Shillington and Hugh Mackenzie was published in April 2009. It does not seem to have garnered a whole lot of attention. But it is worth looking at and thinking about, particularly as we head into a provincial election in Ontario this fall.

It also reminds me of that Monty Python sketch about "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

So what are some of the public services you value most?

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