Manitoba Government Spending Rising Rapidly – May 13, 2013
With provincial government expenditures rising far in excess of inflation since 1999, Manitoba does not have a case for raising any of its taxes, which are among the highest in Canada. The province clearly has a spending problem, not a lack of revenue problem, and simply needs to manage spending in more innovative and smarter ways.
Ontario Can No Longer Take One for the Team – April 4, 2013
Thirty-five years ago, Ontario premier Bill Davis explained his province’s oversized responsibility for Canadian harmony in a lecture to a group of American college students. Ontario “is sufficiently significant in its economic and political influence that in terms comparable to the United States it would be like combining the states of New York and California,” he said. “Ontarians contribute to our national program of equalization, are blamed for whatever goes wrong and are generally expected to set high standards of national conduct.”
Ontario Unfairly Strained by $11-Billion ‘Fiscal Gap’ – April 3, 2013
Outdated policies that cause Ontario to turn over roughly $11 billion more to the federal government each year than it receives are placing an unfair strain on the province, a public policy think tank said in a report released Monday.
The Provinces are Broke, and We're All on the Hook – February 21, 2013
A spate of bad news Tuesday reminds us that provincial governments, collectively, have a bigger impact on the national economy than Ottawa. By that measure, we’re in some trouble.
Buchanan defined the Iron Triangle – January 17, 2013
James Buchanan, known as one of the founders of public choice economics, has just passed away. Public choice economics is essentially the economics of politics and how organized special interests dominate policy-making.
Politics Without Romance – January 11, 2013
James Buchanan died on Wednesday, at age 93, and the world lost one of its most creative economic thinkers. Though a free-marketeer to his bones, he made his biggest mark and won the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his work studying economic incentives in government.
'Hope springs eternal' in the realm of New Year's wishes – January 8, 2013
My third wish was for our provinces to take concrete steps to get their finances under control. Yet, once again, debt and deficits grew in every province except Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
United in Dependence – December 10, 2012
Imagine that you have a pile of money and several kids. Some of those kids work hard and are quite self-sufficient. Some of them, on the other hand, just never quite seem able to look after themselves. Because you’re rich and you believe all your kids deserve a similar standard of living, you pay the ne’er-do-wells a good allowance accompanied by lots of well-meaning admonitions to try and harder and make something of themselves.
Catalonian Calls for Independence Increase – November 26, 2012
Sunday's elections in Catalonia could put the wealthy northern region on a path toward independence, possibly triggering a constitutional crisis in austerity-weary Spain.
Can Only One Man See that Canada's Equalization Program is Broken? – November 1, 2012
No one does a better job than David MacKinnon of revealing what he calls “the tragic consequences” of Canada’s broken equalization program.
The Myths of Equalization – November 1, 2012
I will deal with the myths associated with the current equalization system and then devote the largest part of my remarks to the consequences of these myths for Canadians and the politics of actually changing.
Germany’s Federal States: Givers and Takers – October 31, 2012
As they do about once a decade, the Germans are again fighting over their domestic “transfer union,” in which tax revenues are redistributed among the 16 federal Länder (states).
Hydro Revenue Review Off the Table – October 26, 2012
A July presentation to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty suggesting the government is committed to a full-scale review of how it addresses hydroelectricity revenues in the equalization formula is not under active consideration, the Finance Department said Thursday.
Equalization Isn't Equal – October 18, 2012
Mention the subject of federal transfer payments, and most people's eyes will glaze over. Mention that taxpayers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are net contributors to federal transfer payments - even though the cost of living is highest in those provinces, and lowest in the provinces that receive the bulk of federal transfer payments - and you might get people's attention.
Belgian Vote Reflects Tensions Over Unity – October 15, 2012
Equalization policies now intensify calls for separatism in Belgium. Political tensions run high in Belgium, a federal state consisting of Dutch-speaking Flanders, French-speaking Wallonia and the bilingual Brussels-capital region. The previous general election, in 2010, led to an 18-month political crisis before a government was formed.
Feds Should Fix Equalization – October 10, 2012
Anyone with even a fleeing memory of Saskatchewan's former battles with Ottawa over equalization might consider Premier Brad Wall utterly mad even for mentioning the topic today, let alone express concern about the federal program.
Quebec, Shale Gas and Pandora's Box – October 1, 2012
There were some in Quebec who were thrilled last week when the new Parti Québécois government suggested it would ban the development of the province’s shale gas resources. While this seems to be just another story of a province deciding for or against a development opportunity, a shale gas ban might have larger consequences down the road.
So Much for Equalization Payments – September 17, 2012
Admaston-Bromley Mayor Raye-Anne Briscoe says Ontario really has become a have-not province, as far as federal equalization payments are concerned, but there’s precious little media coverage about it.
Why not let Quebec manage its own EI? – August 28, 2012
PQ Leader Pauline Marois says that if she becomes the next premier of Quebec she will demand that Ottawa transfer jurisdictions to Quebec, starting with employment insurance. In her mind, she wins either way. Ottawa’s agreement makes the “Quebec state” more powerful and readier for independence; Ottawa’s refusal proves that Quebec can never fulfill its legitimate aspirations within Canada.
Equalization Only Promotes Lazy Spending Habits – August 24, 2012
Equalization doesn't just reward failure. It encourages it. Seven Canadian provinces were chronic recipients of the program from the very beginning and all have been economic and financial underperformers that bleed ambitious young people to more dynamic parts of the country.