(Halifax) – Responding to today’s provincial budget, the president of CUPE Nova Scotia, Danny Cavanagh, says, “Premier MacDonald seems to have forgotten that public services are the best bargain available to our citizens. Our taxes fund a wide range of public services that help make our quality of life better than many other nations.
Says Cavanagh, “Taxpayers are often sold on the idea of tax cuts as if they’re the best bargain a government can offer its citizens. In fact, the opposite is true. Tax cuts are not free money. They cost us in vital public services that are needed now more than ever.”
A recent report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) showed that tax cuts implemented by provincial governments over the past 15 years have reduced the living standards of the majority of Canadians. We would all be better off if our governments invested in improving and expanding local public services instead of cutting taxes. The report gives examples:
• 75% of Canadians would be better off if their provincial governments invested in public services instead of broad-based income tax cuts;
• 80% of Canadians would be better off if the federal government hadn’t cut the GST;
• 88% of Canadians would be better off without federal capital gains tax cuts.
Cavanagh says the provincial budget needs to ensure that all Nova Scotians, particularly the most vulnerable, are adequately protected during the current downturn.
“On the eve of a possible election, citizens need to be concerned with the lack of democratic transparency and accountability that exists with this government. Decisions about deficits, debts and surpluses should all have been debated in the legislature, taking into consideration the fiscal and economic circumstances of the day,” argues Cavanagh.
CUPE says the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy also falls short, with current provincial welfare rates well below the poverty line.