Government Spending & Taxes

— Jun 25, 2020
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Is Fiscal Stimulus an Effective Policy Response to a Recession?

Is Fiscal Stimulus an Effective Policy Response to a Recession? finds that new government spending in response to the recession will likely have little effect on economic growth in Canada—but will produce more government debt.

— Jun 18, 2020
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Equalization and Stabilization Post-Recession: Is Canada Ready?

Equalization and Stabilization post-recession: Is Canada ready? finds that Canada’s equalization program is not designed to handle the dramatic fiscal changes among provinces happening today, finds a new study released today.

— May 26, 2020
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Prime Ministers and Government Spending: Updated 2020 Edition

Prime Ministers and Government Spending, Updated 2020 Edition finds that total per-person spending in 2020 will reach $13,226, including $3,920 per Canadian in COVID-related spending. This represents a 46.6 per cent increase over the previous highest spending level reached in 2019 of $9,041. Crucially, 2020’s total program spending, after adjusting for inflation, is 50.7 per cent higher than per-person spending during the 2009 recession, and 74.5 per cent higher than the highest point of per-person spending during the Second World War.

— May 26, 2020
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Deferring Federal Taxes: Illustrating the Deficit Using the GST

Deferring Federal Taxes: Illustrating the Deficit Using the GST is a new study that uses the goods and services tax to highlight how much tax the federal government was deferring before the recession. To contextualize the size of the pre-recession deficit, the federal GST (currently five per cent) would have to have been nine per cent in order to balance the budget.

— May 19, 2020
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May 19, 2020 is Tax Freedom Day, which represents the total yearly tax burden imposed on Canadian families: If you had to pay all your taxes up front, you’d give government every dollar you earned before May 19. This year, the average Canadian family will pay 37.7 per cent of its income in taxes. Ordinarily Tax Freedom Day comes much later in the year—last year it fell on June 8th—but, an earlier Tax Freedom Day this year is nothing to celebrate, since it’s not the result of governments reducing taxes. Instead, Canadian families have been significantly impacted by the economic shutdowns in response to COVID-19. When the economy slows and incomes decline, Canadians are bumped into lower income tax brackets and pay a smaller percentage of income in taxes. Canadians have also reduced their spending, which means less sales taxes are being paid.

— Apr 28, 2020
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A Friend in Need: How Albertans Continue to Keep Federal Finances Afloat, 2020

A Friend in Need: How Albertans Continue to Keep Federal Finances Afloat, 2020 finds that from 2014 to 2018, Alberta’s net contribution to federal finances was $94.9 billion, by far the largest contribution from any province during that time period. Crucially, Ontario’s net contribution was $58.3 billion, but it’s population in 2018 was more than three times larger than Alberta’s. British Columbia was the only other net contributing province ($29.6 billion) during that time, meaning every other province received more from Ottawa than it sent to Ottawa.

— Feb 27, 2020
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The Budget That Changed Canada: Essays on the 25th Anniversary of the 1995 Budget is a new book of collected essays celebrating Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin’s historic federal budget that tackled head-on the pressing fiscal challenges facing the nation following nearly 30 years of deficits and mounting debt. The 1995 budget, which reduced program spending and led to balanced budgets, shrinking debt and eventually broad-based tax relief, laid the foundation for more than a decade of economic prosperity and is one of the main reasons Canada weathered the 2009 global recession better than most other industrialized countries.

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