Politicians, truth and taxes

When our next federal government is formed, I wonder how many of our elected members will be completely honest with their constituents during their term of office.

When our next federal government is formed, I wonder how many of our elected members will be completely honest with their constituents during their term of office.

One of the most misrepresented pieces of information promoted by the federal government is the amount of exemption one is allowed to claim against their income; referred to on the tax form as Basic Personal Amount.

Reigning prime ministers apparently love to make announcements about how this amount has been raised. In 2009, this amount was shown as $10,320.

The truth of the matter is that one is only allowed to claim 15 per cent of this figure, which reduces to $1,548 the amount one can earn before tax is imposed.

The Low Income Cap-off (poverty level) for two persons living in a city of 500,000 last year was $22,420, while the same persons living in a rural area were at $14,666. If these persons are unable to claim additional expenses like medical, age, disability, etc., they pay tax on anything over $1,548.

Is it any wonder that some of these people are living in unheated shacks and eating dog food (when they can afford it) or that children are going to school hungry and without sufficient clothing to sustain them in our climate?

But wait! We have Samaritans who take care of these people through food banks, soup kitchens, lunch programs and other charities who provide clothing and shelter, while the government collects 15 per cent of any earnings over $1,548.

Wake up, Canada!

If the elected officials are going to get brownie points for the exemptions they have provided, we should be able to claim 100 per cent of those exemptions and the exemption should be at least the level touted as Basic Personal Exemption ($10,320), or at best be raised to the lowest level Low Income Cap-off ($14,666).

What I’m suggesting will likely get lots of criticism from people in the higher brackets of income because they would likely be required to contribute to cover the shortfall for the numbers removed from the tax rolls but maybe one of those persons could explain to me how the present system is more equitable.

Members of Parliament would probably not support any change from the status quo because they, too, fall into the category of high-level incomes.

I believe the present system of income tax is unfair and I just can’t trust someone who tells me I have something and then on close examination I find he or she hasn’t told the whole truth. I guess I really have to examine the records of the candidates in my riding.

George Diebert

Red Deer