Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If you build it, they will come

Maybe I am foolish or overly optomistic, but I've always thought that line from Field of Dreams is a very applicable statement to a lot of things in the world.

Scott has a post up about the Graham governments approach to self-sufficiency with heavy reliance on an opinion piece that ran in today's Globe & Mail by fromer Telegraph-Journal editor Neil Reynolds.

Scott has banned comments on his site, so I am forced to respond here on my own blog.

Scott is a strong proponent of supply-side economics, this article also seems to suggest that that is the way to go. SSE is the theory that if you cut taxes, you will both grow the economy and increase government revenue because people with more cash in their hands - due to lower taxes - will spend that money to buy goods and services (which creates jobs) and will put cash back into the public treasury (by the income tax paid by those whose jobs have been created due to the increased purchases and through consumption taxes).

Under the right circumstances, SSE makes some sense. However, the revenues lost from government in decreased taxes is never made up, in whole, by the indirect revenues that those monies create. If the government needs to spend money on infrastructure, then the government cannot afford to make tax cuts. I will concede however that lowering taxes, in the right way which is often not the most popular way nor the way governments lower taxes when they do, is a better job creator than government spending in an attempt to stimulate the economy.

In general, I agree that taxes should not be increased for a plethora of reasons. However, I think it is irresponsible to cut taxes when there is debt to be addressed - both real debt and "debts" such as lacking infrastructure.

From 1999 to 2007, New Brusnwicker's saw their tax rates decrease almost every year - by marginal amounts. However, though their tax rates went down, they probably didn't end up with more cash in their pockets most years. This is because the Tories, while cutting income tax rates dindn't actually cut income tax revenues in a number of years because they allowed bracket creep. In other years, they also dramatically (in some cases doubled) user fees through regulations without consulting the legislature.

I find it frustrating at times that my friend Spinks - as an example, he shares the view of many others - rails against the Liberals for shafting taxpayers, etc, etc because of the $50 million personal income tax increase when, in fact, it really isn't that much different than the increases we saw in many of the Lord budgets. The difference is that the Lord government would showcase a tax rate cut, and still take extra money out of your pockets while you were looking at that pretty gem. Graham's government has chosen to be honest with New Brunswickers and tell them flat out what they are doing; for their honesty they are painted as tax-and-spend Liberals, when in fact they are getting the same effect that Lord's crew did but are doing it through honest and direct means instead of cloak-and-dagger skullduggery.

In any event, I have gotten a little bit of track. The crux of the Scott MacKay/Neil Reynolds argument can be summarized in this quote:

Although it progressed too slowly, New Brunswick had moved in the right direction in the last decade. [in reference to the Lord tax cutting MO]
However, the evidence doesn't back that up. Mr. Reynolds talks about how the Lord method is the right way to go and the Graham way is the wrong way to go. As evidence, he says that New Brunswick's population is slipping - more and more every year. Huh? NEWS FLASH: Shawn Graham has been in power for 7 months; if Lord's plan was so great and working so well, why after 7 years of his stewardship were things getting worse?

We need a made for New Brunswick solution if we are to boost our economy and acheive self-sufficiency. Under the right circumstances cutting taxes could work, but that is not the circumstances we have in our province today.

Reynolds criticizes Victor Boudreau for saying, "this is a transactional budget which lays the groundwork for future transformational change." He called that meaningless bureaucrateese. I don't see it that way. The biggest challenge to the growth of the New Brunswick economy is not its tax structure (neither before nor after his budget) but it is its lack of infrastructure. We need to better prepare ourselves for trade and connectivity with the world. We need roads, seaports and airports to move goods and we need the internet to move services.

The tax increase this year was $50 million. That works out to just under $70/person - if it was shared equally, it would actually be more for the rich and less for the lower and middle class - but let's use it to illustrate a point. What can a person do with $70? Buy two cases of beer OR maybe a blender and a toaster OR half of a cheap bike OR 2/3s of a DVD player, etc. What can the government do with $50 million? Build 50kms of top of the line divided highway OR hire 500 doctors OR build a school or two.

New Brunswickers cannot afford to have their government trim the fat and cut taxes just ot the point where the province breaks even. We need a government that has the means to invest in the infrastructure necessary to grow our economy. Schools grow our economy in the long term. Well equiped and well staffed hospitals grow our economy by attracting immigrations. Roads grow our economy by making it more feasible to trade with the relatively far away major population centres.

A minor tax increase that doesn't change New Brunswick's ranking among other provinces (there are still just as many with lower taxes and just as many with higher taxes) is well worth it if we can make the improvements in infrastructure needed to make long term economic growth.

22 comments:

Spinks said...

Mmmmmm, pretty gem. Seriously though if I wasn't taking it from all sides from the Libs I could live with it. Go back through my blog and I think you'll see little criticism of the Libs until they began breaking promises in December. Frankly I think it's all fair criticism and like you said I'm hardly alone. A trip to the local coffee shop will tell you the same thing (something I think Liberal strategists or in fairness PC strategist do enough of).

On Scott, good point NBPolitico. I'm a pretty big fan of Scott's writings but what the heck happened to the comments section? David Campbell at It's the Economy Stupid has also followed suit and eliminated comments. Their blogs and they're free to do whatever they wish but I am curious. Scott, whay say you?

scott said...

Banned? Get real, nbpolitico. Like Kinsella, Wells and a host of other bloggers, I have decided to engage with individuals on the net via email. It seems to work much better that way.

And you, nbpolitico, of all people should know better than to throw daggers as you know I post under my real name, unlike yourself.

nbpolitico said...

I wasn't meaning to throw daggers, I was simply saying I was starting the thread here in response to your post because I couldn't do it there.

As for correspondence by email, you've not responded to mine of some weeks ago re: why you decided to ditch comments. Thanks for the answer.

nbpolitico said...

Go back through my blog and I think you'll see little criticism of the Libs until they began breaking promises in December.

Indeed, I don't need to go back, I recall you having quite a bit of time for them.

I just don't understand the radical shift. Yes they've made some missteps, and they broke a few promises; but by and large they've honoured their commitments, cleaned up some messes and I think are soon going to head forward with some real innovative change for your benefit and mine.

Anonymous said...

Yes, especially Scotts, since it was probably one of the 'best behaved' comments section I'd seen. David Campbell seemed to react to that, almost like a little internal blog war-if you won't let comments at your site then how dare you come and *&^% all over mine. But it also hasn't been updated which means he could be off on one of his job related trips now.

I don't think anybody wants to engage 'one on one', that's not the reason for comments section. If I thought nobody else but Spinks saw his comments I'd never post there, whats the point of debating with one person who will probably never change their mind anyway?

But supply side economics has been rejected by every serious theorist for years. The closest thing to it was Great Britains industrial revolution when it was disbanded because the country was on the brink of imploding.

New Brunswick is a test case for that. Under McKenna the 'cutbacks' began and industry taxes began to be lowered. For the past decade New Brunswick has had the lowest taxes for businesses in the country. Yet we see far more economic growth in Nova Scotia, hell, even PEI.

Even most industry people say that taxes aren't the main reason. A large company can go to virtually any government on the globe and dictate to them what they will pay-so long as they will create some jobs that politicians can then take credit for.

Mr. Campbell shows quite well how the economy REALLY operates. You either have a resource like Alberta that you will give away for practically nothing, or else you use federal money to build up an auto industry like ontario, then build up universities and funnel money into private think tanks.

Unfortunately, NB has no federal largesse and no think tanks. It doesn't even have the MEANS of getting federal money because there are next to no research institutions. No pharmacy school and only one french medical school. It seems clearly designed to 'get people out of there'.

However, while NBPolitico is a smart guy, here I think he reads too much media. OPEC has been saying for years that Canada will have to build up its 'knowledge economy' in order to be able to compete. The places that are doing that, like Toronto, Waterloo, Ottawa, etc., are all doing relatively well.

In New Brunswick, people are so desperate they are buying into the Atlantica bullshit and thinking that a better road will somehow turn things around. I've got news, the roads in NB are no worse than anyplace else.

But for taxes, that's also a misnomer, because of course there is no one entity called 'taxes'. After the budget there was some little debate about the fact that at the higher income levels the increase was actually less.

A recent report from a poverty group showed that the richest ten percent of New Brunswickers are the richest top ten percent of ANY province. That's quite a coup for one of the poorest provinces. Not to mention that somehow the tories managed to 'top up' the Premiers' salary to the wealthiest in Canada. Some projections (albeit on the web) had Lord's net worth once he was done in the millions.

Irregardless, the province is home to two of the wealthiest families in the world which benefit exceedingly from the resources of where they are located. In other words, it doesn't look that much different than a southern island under its colonizers. So if you want more cash to spend, you take it from the group that makes the most money, and probably invests it elsewhere, and get it to people who actually spend it locally.

It's not rocket science, for some reason people i guess want to think we are so advanced that we've outgrown the 'rich get richer the poor poorer' factor, but its alive and well.

That ten percent means that 73,000 New Brunswickers make over $250 grand a year. That's a lot of dough. I'm willing to bet some of them earn a lot more.

Want more money? Stop letting Irving bleed the province dry. Build some infrastructure and stop putting all the money on highways. 135 million federal money just went to build up a small stretch of the TCH, while 200 million of that came from YOU. Have there been any new jobs? How many new companies have set up because of the highway system?

Eugene said...

I'm with anon here. The infrastructure in NB is fine. Three airports, twinned roads, Saint John port. We have it better than most places on that front. The solution lies elsewhere.

nbpolitico said...

Route 1 needs to be twinned, so does Route 7. The Belledune port needs to be completed and upgrade to make exports from the north more realistic. I am not sure if you have driven Route 8, but that is a road that is not fine by any means.

We have 3 airports, yes, and that is not a good thing. We need to focus, we could have an airport that rivals or is better than Halifax if we focussed on one strong airport for the province.

An anon talks about the knowledge economy and that is great. Under McKenna New Brunswick positioned itself well by leading the continent in fibre optic connections to rural communities so that, under the knowledge economy, they could compete with any city. Unfortunately that advantage was lost and most in rural New Brunswick have to use dial up if they want to connect to the internet.

Infrastructure is not the only answer, but it is certainly a key component.

scott said...

As for correspondence by email, you've not responded to mine of some weeks ago re: why you decided to ditch comments. Thanks for the answer.

Simple answer to that. I no longer respond to people (via email) who don't disclose their real name and location.

For instance, how do I even know you are in New Brunswick even with the blog name nbpolitico? For all I know, you could be emailing me from a deli on O'Connor Street. In other words, I know longer give the same treatment to those who choose to hide their true identity as opposed to those who don't. Nothing personal, just a change in policy that's all.

Btw, if you're curious, of the 15 or so individuals on my main blogroll, there are five people who fit into that category.

Anonymous said...

Belledune is already capable of handling container traffic, what it doesn't have is CUSTOMERS. Ditto Halifax, why do you think AIMS, the free market people, want the federal government to pay for massive expansion in Halifax-because its already being expanded at the rate the customers wanted.

The idea that if you build up Belledune customers will come flocking is just crazy. What customers are out there thinking "gee, if only there were a small port about twelve hours from any major market".

For airports, there is nothing stopping Moncton from growing if it gets customers. Westjet is now flying into Saint John, I doubt they were thinking 'darn, Moncton isn't big enough'. The reality is that there is a market there. Here there is nothing wrong with what Scott is saying, having more than one airport doesn't hurt and gives more jobs.

Eugene said...

Yeah, they tried that big airport theory once in Montreal. Worked out well for Fedex and UPS and that's about it.

Don't let any politican tell you the lack of infrastructure is our problem NBP. My small business ships product daily and there are absolutely no issues whatsoever. I can move product around the world efficiently and economically from NB. My guess is they use excuses like that to cover up the fact they have no economic development policy to speak of.

nbpolitico said...

Gene - do you you have some ideas as to how to address economic development?

What does your small business ship? Small packages can be sent by third parties. Larger manufactures require different means of transport.

And it is not only infrastructure to move goods, it is also presenting a reasonable image to potential investors.

If we have large foreign investors move to New Brunswick to consider setting up shop and there option is to fly into Moncton, Saint John or Fredericton on a small plane without executive class and then drive on what they would see as "country roads" for several hours to get to the sites they would like to develop, this is not an image that is going to encourage investment. It is an image that is going to make them think "why should I put this money in this backwater?"

Frank McKenna proved that our level productivity has a lot to do with psychology. So does investment.

I have said all along that I think the report of the Self-Sufficiency Task Force will have some good ideas for us to move forward with. Let's see what they come up with.

I think infrastructure is a key component, however there is a lot more to it than that and this government is, in my view, going in the right direction by charging people with listening to ordinary New Brunswickers and experts from inside and outside the province to make a made-for-New Brunswick plan for economic development and expansion.

Eugene said...

Small packages can be sent by third parties. Larger manufactures require different means of transport.

LOL. Are you saying I can somehow get my boxes to Germany? We ship truckloads domestically and containers to Europe. I'm pretty well versed on how things get moved around and my personal opinion is that we're fine on the infrastructure front.

My ED ideas are fairly straighforward. Externally, recruit like hell to get non-NB firms to open new facilities here. This requires a large budget for BNB, yet it was halved by this government. Internally, apply ED funding for existing and startup NB firms in a VC type manner. They need to follow through with the "NB bank" idea that was being thrown around in the earlier this year. The external and internal actually tie together since having a government-backed, independently-run, lending institution geared solely to business with slightly less strict lending guidelines, would in fact be a major selling point to entrepreneurs willing to move to the province for business purposes. I'm still holding out hope for this to be implemented and I will be impressed if they move it forward.

And finally, I would suggest that the roads the investor travels on means a lot less than the potential profits they could make at the destination when it comes to making an investment decision. After all, the road to Florenceville isn't exacly six lanes of driving glory ;)

scott said...

Supply side? More airports? Thanks for putting words in my mouth, fellas. No surprise though as I wouldn't expect an 80s style tax-and-spend Liberal, like yourself nbpolitico, to understand a modern 21st century economy, especially after reading your post. As well, I think need to comment since my "real" name appears at least three or four times.

Moreover, one need not look back at extreme arguements for state intervention to wonder why lovers of large government, like yourself, become giddy anytime the prospect of more taxes and higher spending arises. This was most evident in your statement as well as in your peremptory tone when you said, “New Brunswickers can not afford to have their government trim fat and cut taxes”, and the kicker “if the government needs to spend money on infrastructure, then the government can not afford to make tax cuts.” However, I will admit that part of your point on infrastructure is taken.

Overall, there is no question that infrastructure is vital to the success of any advanced society, however, the common ethos amongst liberals is to assume that a bloated government is equal to compassion and that its collary, high taxes, are conducive to and responsible for a sense of community and its life blood, infrastructure. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What your government says and what it does are two entirely different things, nbpolitico. And when your government makes the pitch for this approach as being a take it ot leave ultimatum, it's not being truthful to NBers. The truth is this “structural change”, as Boudreau likes to call it, is nothing more than a camouflage or code words for unilaterally invoking “high taxes” on its citizens without full consultation. Don't get me wrong here, as I said before, infrastructure is important, but not at the cost of ruining the economy.

In other words, government should spend their money where voters have decided and allocate it towards those areas of high priority and which offer the largest societal good. It's a shame that people like yourself are going around touting that your government is serious about modernizing infrastructure. If it were, then it would set better priorites instead of engaging in the practice of corporate welfare, high taxes and excessive statism. I mean, whatever happened to the idea that government could do more good by not interfering in the economy, and by leaving us taxpayers alone to do their own thing? No, not you guys. Your idea of a good government is one that raises taxes for the good of society.

Well, if that's the case, the answer me this. Did 47 per cent of New Brunswickers vote for a government knowing that they would raise taxes unilaterally without consulting the people? Did they vote for a government who would allocate $60 million of taxpayers money, again without debate, in order to bail out a corrupt and fledgling credit union? Did they vote for a government who thinks nothing of rewarding Liberal friendly firms with taxpayers money while raising taxes on small and medium businesses, once again without consultation? If that's what you mean by good investment, then I wouldn't want to see what you refer to as bad.

I guess where you and I differ, nbpolitico, is I believe in changing the channel on this old practice (of corprate welfare and statism) in our province, and you want to keep the channel right where it is. Not only that, I am advocating for a government that will allow New Brunswickers and small business to keep more of what they earn via low taxes. We all know that high taxes not only erode the connection between citizens and their community, but also betweem families and their community.

When taxes are high, people have less money to donate to charities or to the community organization of their choice. In other words, excessive statism makes a community overly dependent on government to provide things such as after school programs, community literacy programs, seniors care and youth activities. In others words, the ugly phrase “regional defeatism” stems largely from the fact that communities are distant from their citizens and, in turn, they lose pride and hope. It's not up to big government to engineer happiness, a good economy and better social conditions rather it's up to them to create a winning environment [priority infrastructure] so that communities, individuals families and business (both small and large) can make a good go of it.

Spinks said...

Mike (anon 9:10), I'm the only one who sees them. You can stop now. :)

Anonymous said...

Actually 'statism' all depends on the state. Most of europe have a high level of 'statism' and they are quite happy about it. Ask the people of Switzerland or Norway what they think of their government and you get far different answers.

In Norway you pay $5 for a cup of coffee, in Canada people would be rioting in the streets but in Norway they have absolutely no problem with it.

The level of 'statism' that people are happy with usually depends on who is in government. Lots of tories who preached Scott's gospel are now quite happy or at least not too upset now that Harper is acting like a liberal and throwing money all around.

Eugene makes good points about policy, its too bad people can't get over the 'my guys good, you guys bad' thinking. For Eugene, although he's too busy running a SME, the reality is that it takes lobbying and work to get those issues on the front burner.

However, with respect to NBP, whenever somebody says 'we need to do this so that it gives the right image' then you know you are in trouble. I know plenty of executives, and the vast majority of them don't give a rat's ass about travel accomodations. A customer of mine, the Research VP of a scientific research company sits in airports for three hours at a time and doesn't blink. He goes into the executive lounge if there is one, but the rest of the time he travels business class and couldn't care less.

Obviously that's one case, but changing the entire industry setup of plane travel on the hopes that executive class will mean employers may set up shop in NB is a bad move.

Just imagine an executive travelling into toronto. Every one of them knows that they will sit in traffic for hours. At least in NB its a travelling ride. You can get from Moncton to Fredericton in the time you can get out of Toronto during rush hour.

Notice during all this talk about economic development the people nobody talks to from the papers is guys like Eugene. Or else talk to the owner of Wilsons lumber where the vast majority of their flooring is now packaged up and shipped to europe. They aren't exactly complaining that, gee, the roads could be smoother or wouldnt' it be nice to ship from Belledune.

But like Eugene says, there's a place for government, and Scott is definitely in the minority in thinking that government just needs to 'get out of the way'. The question is, what policies do people want and how do you get them?

scott said...

The question is, what policies do people want and how do you get them?

Good point, anon. Which is why I said this, "Did 47 per cent of New Brunswickers vote for a government knowing that they would raise taxes unilaterally without consulting the people? Did they vote for a government who would allocate $60 million of taxpayers money, again without debate, in order to bail out a corrupt and fledgling credit union? Did they vote for a government who thinks nothing of rewarding Liberal friendly firms with taxpayers money while raising taxes on small and medium businesses, once again without consultation?" and this "government should spend their money where voters have decided and allocate it towards those areas of high priority and which offer the largest societal good."

In other words, I believe (as I said to Alec Bruce the other day) the grassroots are being completely ignored by this current government wherein they're not being consulted nor are they taken seriously. It's evident in the way they move forward --- unilaterally without full debate.

Btw, when you said "how do you get them", did you mean a reform of some kind with the system? (i.e. MMP, STV or PR)

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean anything in particular, I was just asking the question. That voters are being 'ignored' is 'kind of' true. Although we can say the same thing about Lord, about Theriault, and about McKenna.

For economic development we have guys like NBP, who is clearly a smart guy but parrots the Atlantica line. At least he's smart enough to ask Eugene, a guy who is IN business for some info. And why? Well, because of course the media and AIMS have no interest in guys like Eugene. They are economic pinheads grovelling at the feet of their sponsors,so thats what people hear day in and day out. ANd of course its far easier to 'defend' a policy that will probably be enacted anyway than to try to lobby a policy like Eugene's that doesn't have a hope in hell.

So there once again is the problem. Like taxes for rich and poor, there is economic development for rich and poor. That's where the problems come in and why its pointless to be talking about 'liberal' and 'conservative', because they make almost no difference. The question is who does policy benefit. In NB it has ALWAYS benefitted Irvings, McCains, and a good measure of that is not just the representational system that Scott mentions, its the province itself.

After all, PEI is shaking Irvings tree and demanding they hand over all information on their land holdings, because in PEI any corporation can only own so much land. Now they are heading to court to sort out Irvings 'sub leases', etc. And like New Brunswick PEI has essentially a two party system. But just try to imagine politicians doing something like that in NB...just ASKING for information on all their holdings.

Remember, this is a company where guys couldn't form a union because they couldn't even prove that they actually worked for Irving!

So the idea that 'if they build it they will come' is a misnomer. The TCH was twinned and upgraded...did they come? Well, transports came, but they have to travel the highway anyway. Was there a marked increase in standards of living? Not at all, there was increase in exports, mostly from Irving. Did it 'grow' the economy? Not at all.

Building infrastructure is one thing, but here it helps to look at media from outside the province to find out whats going on in the world. Like I said, the OECD says canada is screwed without its knowledge industry. That makes sense. Well, for building up infrastructure then look at the knowledge industry.

As I've said before, a quarter of a billion for a section of highway is a shitload to pay so that trucks can have a more comfortable ride. Imagine what else could have been done with that.

So it takes five seconds of looking to notice that 'if they build it they will come' depends on WHAT is being built. BUild new highways and you'll have more trucks...what does that do for the economy? It means you might have more trucks on the highway and if lucky then David and Scott's idea of a big truck station with lots of features may arrive. Is THAT worth putting all the spare change the province has of industry development funds? To be a truck stop?

So for the knowledge industry, just ask what is going on. Well, we KNOW that the feds are dumping loads into research, so then we come to David Campbell's claim, why isn't NB getting its fair share? Some of that is represention, or lack of, for sure, but its also because there is very little research being done!. So first a knowledge industry needs to be built!

nbpolitico said...

Scott you may not be surprised to learn that I take exception to some of your remarks.

I wouldn't expect an 80s style tax-and-spend Liberal, like yourself nbpolitico, to understand a modern 21st century economy

I am hardly a tax-and-spend Liberal. I am a fiscal conservative and in my view the number one issue for government should be debt reduction as it is fiscally irresponsible to cut taxes or bring in unnecessary new program spending when money should be directed to the principle of debt so that we can stop wasting 20 cents on the dollar on interest payments.

Moreover, one need not look back at extreme arguements for state intervention to wonder why lovers of large government, like yourself, become giddy anytime the prospect of more taxes and higher spending arises.

Where are you getting this? I panned several times on my blog the bad policy decision that was the increase in the small business tax rate.

Where am I calling for government intervention? I am calling for investments in infrastructure and trade just as you are.

I guess where you and I differ, nbpolitico, is I believe in changing the channel on this old practice (of corprate welfare and statism) in our province, and you want to keep the channel right where it is.

Wrong. This is where we agree. This is why I am a fan of the Self-Sufficiency Task Force because I believe it will make those recommendations. And I believe this government will follow through. If they do not, they will no longer enjoy my support.

scott said...

You're right, NBP. Our debates are circular. Next time I'll try to stay on topic instead of getting overly ideological. ;-)

Anonymous said...

If you guys think getting rid of corporate welfare is going to be a recommendation of the self sufficiency task force you're going to be in for a big surprise. Take a look at their forestry recommendations, they are already bypassing all the forestry committee's work and heading right back to the jaacko-pyrrhy report that everybody but the big five license holders have panned.

They are recommending handing even more in forestry, so I doubt things will be markedly dissimilar in other respects. Of course it may depend how you define 'corporate welfare', since some people don't put any value at all on trees or land, so as long as it doesn't 'cost' anything, then its not actually corporate welfare. Thats a mightly slim definition of it though, since if a pipeline bursts and when floods result from the increase in clear cuts, guess who pays for it?

I'll give you a hint, when it hits the fan there's a reason they changed their motto from 'Always There':)

Andrew said...

Long winded BS. Libs = less cash in my pocket. More for booze, more for electricity, more taxes. Tax and spend liberal policies. Same old same ol. Tighten the belt, bla bla bla. The middle has the "privledge" of paying more without ever qualifying for any of the services that we pay for. The liberal way baby...

Anonymous said...

Here in Ontario when the liberals came into power we got hit with a 'premium' for health care, also known as a 'tax' which costs us close to $700 more every year than previously. So consider yourselves lucky.

The reality is that government needs X amount of dollars. Budget creep would only account for some of it, because wages in NB for the middle class don't tend to rise very fast.

However, in ontario at least Harris REALLY cut taxes, not the 1% kind of crap that Lord did. Go to Campbells' blog and read all about that...government spending increased wildly under Lord, it just came from your federal taxes (and other canadians).

So Lord was every bit a 'tax and spend' liberal as the liberals are. Mckenna sure as hell was no 'tax and spender' so the idea that this has a party affiliation is wrong.

As mentioned, your insurance has gone down, so has your gas tax. So the increase would be less than $50.

Property tax assessments were begun under Lord, and you might not have heard about it, but alcohol tax also increased. He was also responsible for the Caisse debacle by refusing to hire a Superintendant, and perhaps even more nefarious dealings. Electricity increases are also higher because he refused to raise them last year.

However, everything is relative as well, you could end up like Saskatchewan that had a huge surplus until they elected a tory government, then wound up billions in the red just six years later.

Graham would have gotten almost half the increase by not lowering gasoline taxes, which tells you who is REALLY writing policy in Fredericton. Notice how you are supposed to conserve energy-you just aren't supposed to conserve gas. Here's a clue, they 'sponsored' the Speech from the Throne.