Throwing tax money at ferry is not a solution


To the Editor:

Where is the McNeil economic development plan?

So far they have shut down industries and thrown money at a ferry. Is that the plan? It can’t be.  A plan defines success and, of course, closely monitors the cost and “return on investment”.  The McNeil record on analysis is not good (Pharmacare) and when Minister MacLellan says that he doesn’t know or care how many people are riding the ferry it is just more of the same.

Economic development planning means (a) identifying and selling our strengths (as Ivany pointed out, we have many) and (b) accepting and addressing our weaknesses (which also exist).

Some weaknesses can be addressed by government policy, some can’t.  One that can is corporate taxes. Our high tax rates make us less competitive.  High taxes also frustrate people but people sometimes stay for other reasons.  Business and jobs on the other hand, are mobile.

What if we had a government that, instead of taking more and more money through taxes, left that money in the hands of the folks that know what to do with it:  people and businesses?  Imagine a government that just held corporate taxes at the dollar amount paid last year and didn’t keep taking more even if companies made more. Instead of “cutting” taxes allow them to “earn” their way to lower rates.

Money paid in taxes is gone but over time money left in the hands of capital users would mean more investment in people and equipment … it would allow (and encourage) growth.
I support new ideas and will (act) carefully when I hear them because a real economic development plan has many parts.  Maybe this particular idea isn’t a full solution but one thing is for sure: simply throwing tax dollars at ferries and hoping for results doesn’t attract business, it discourages it.

Tim Houston
MLA Pictou East

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