Saturday, April 10, 2010

Budget 2010

So our relatively newly minted NDP government brought down its first budget this past Tuesday.

And I tried to figure it out. I really did.

Wednesday at lunch time I saw down with the paper. And read. And read.

And ultimately decided that she is probably right. Or, more accurately, I think I agree with her end result but not necessarily her reasoning.

The HST goes back up from 13% to 15%.

And yet I find it hard to get too upset about that, given that was it feels like it was 15% forever and it doesn't seem all that long ago that it slowly made its way down to 13% over the last few months.
[Yeah, sorry about that music. My bad.]

I still think of it at 15% now anyway ...

So, yeah, what she said.
ADMIT IT: You don’t even know how much HST is anyway.

You keep forgetting whether it’s 13 per cent, which is the current rate, or 15 per cent, which is what it’ll hit July 1, thanks to a two percentage point bump announced Tuesday as part of the NDP budget.

Yeah, yeah, you think about HST constantly. Because every time you pay for something there’s this amorphous little blob of money added to the total. But you don’t have a sweet clue whether you’re paying an extra 39 cents or an extra 45 cents on a $3 pair of socks.

Hold on. Do we even pay HST on socks?
Taxes up. That's not so good.

But wait - there is a rebate for "low income" earners.

And new point-of-sale rebates on diapers, children's clothing, children's footwear, and feminine hygiene products. Okay. TMI there, perhaps.

But I think it's good that we're finally removing the provincial sales tax from kids' clothing and such.. I just wish my children still qualified as kids, you know? No more diaper purchases here (thank goodness!).

And then there's something about provincial income tax going down.
The poverty reduction credit of $200 per year will go to about 15,000 people with total annual income of $12,000 or less. It’s available to individuals or couples with no children whose main source of income is welfare.

And about 18,000 seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement will no longer pay provincial income tax.
And up.
People at the other end of the income scale — those making more than $150,000 — will see a new marginal tax rate of 21 per cent. The increase is expected to generate $59 million for provincial coffers this year.

The current top rate is 17.5 per cent on taxable income of more than $93,000. The 17.5 per cent bracket will now apply to incomes from $93,001 to $150,000.
Both at the same time, apparently.
But higher-income earners will also get a tax break. The province is eliminating the high-income surtax for people making about $83,000 or more, a move that will save 30,000 Nova Scotians about $27 million.

The surtax saving will range from $56 for people making up to $90,000, to $849 for those in the $125,000 to $150,000 range.
Depending on who you are.

So. See why I'm confused?

But the more I ponder it, the more I think the NDP would have been panned no matter what they did.

After all, they are characterized as tax and spenders, right?

Tax the rich. Tax the middle class. Tax the corporations out of business. While letting program spending run rampant.

So if they followed that scenario, they would have been panned as being "true to form". (Never mind the little technicality that we've never had a NDP government in Nova Scotia so I am not quite sure how there can actually be any "form". To be "true" to.)

In fact, if they increased taxes (anywhere, at all) they would be in trouble.

But if they didn't do something about that ever-growing debt and deficit they would be "fiscally irresponsible".

So what's a poor government (cough, hack, choke) to do?

Why, a little bit of everything, of course. Cue the music ...

Increase the tax. While you simultaneously decrease the tax. Stick it to business. But make sure you give them some tax breaks at the same time.

And yet, at the end of the day, when I think about the US and the size of their budget deficit ... well, it was all spend, spend, spend and stimulus time, wasn't it?

After all, it's all good fun until someone gets an eye poked out ...

Which leaves me thinking that, maybe, in the grand scheme of things, just maybe we are doing will be okay.

But I'm not really sure. I'm much too confused.

No comments: