Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberals will do a full tax review if the Liberals are elected as government in Manitoba on Sept 10
Dougald Lamont spoke earlier today at a news conference beside the Manitoba Legislature on the Manitoba Liberal Party plan for a full tax review. Dougald Lamont's speech is below:
We’re here on Treaty one territory, the ancestral lands of the anishnaabe and the homeland of the Métis people.
Today we’re going to talk about what a Manitoba Liberal government would do about taxes.
Now we want to be clear: we believe that for Manitoba to grow and prosper, to keep people here and to attract more to come, we need to focus on opportunity.
That means investment in growing businesses, and making sure government is there to support families, communities and the economy with quality education, health care, and infrastructure.
Opportunity is what moves people. Manitobans did not move to Fort McMurray because of Alberta’s low taxes, they moved because of the work.
So that’s why Manitoba Liberals are focused on investing in Manitoba businesses. We have announced a buy local promotion, and a buy local procurement plan.
We’re going to have more announcements down the line.
When we focus on growth, and new jobs and new businesses, we expand the tax base - and when we do that, we can move to lower the tax burden.
For many years, the PCs and NDP alike have used promises of tax credits and tax cuts as a way of manipulating voters at election time.
That’s what the PCs are doing right now.
The result is a provincial tax system that is messy, and difficult and costly to administer, for businesses and citizens alike.
It is also a system that is often profoundly unfair.
The reality of many tax credits is that they are like pizza coupons - you still have to have money to use them. But because of the way these tax favours are handed out, it may mean that a tiny fraction of the population get a huge break, while the vast majority see a few pennies a day difference.
All at a time when the government is running a deficit.
The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce have both called for a tax review.
That’s what a Manitoba Liberal Government will do. It will be an independent commission, because we want to see a fair tax system, where everyone pays their fair share.
It will look at the range of taxes paid, impacts on the economy, as how to structure more stable and more fair funding for municipalities and education.
Contrary to what many people have said, the problem facing many governments is not a spending problem, but a revenue shortfall.
Canadians for Tax Fairness and other advocacy organizations have argued that many governments in Canada could shrink their deficits without raising taxes, simply by making sure people and companies pay the taxes they owe.
Because there is a very big difference between “nominal tax rates” - which is what a tax is on paper - and what people and companies actually end up paying, which is a fraction of that.
We can increase revenue and balance the budget simply by making sure that people and corporations pay the taxes they owe.
Governments across Canada, including Manitoba, are struggling with deficits and growing debt because they have a revenue problem.
Our tax system allows for widespread tax avoidance - which is legally avoiding taxes, as well as illegal tax evasion.
If you want to see an example of how the 1% legally avoid taxes, we need look no further than PC Leader Brian Pallister and NDP Leader Wab Kinew, who have both created corporations to cut their personal income tax bill.
NDP Leader Wab Kinew disclosed that he owns a small corporation that receives royalties from his book. This allows him to pay a much lower corporate rate and taxes on capital gains, rather than income tax rates.
The Premier told a committee that one of several companies he owns, Pallister Financial, was created after he was advised he was holding “too much profit” in his insurance company.
And by the way, no, I am not a corporation.
This is an issue where there is no difference between the leaders of the PC and the NDP.
Manitoba Liberals take a very different view. Because we sometimes hear we need to have an honest conversation about taxes.
What do those taxes pay for? That’s someone’s chemotherapy. That’s someone’s hip replacement. That’s homecare for seniors. That’s support for veterans. It’s glasses or a hearing aid for an elementary school student. It’s a road to get products to market, or to fix a rail line.
A Manitoba Liberal Government will:
- Establish an Independent Commission to review Manitoba’s tax system and make recommendations on how to make Manitoba’s tax system more fair, effective, and progressive - while ensuring everyone pays their fair share.
- Publish a comprehensive list of “tax expenditures” - who benefits from tax breaks, credits and more to the Manitoba Government’s public purse.
- Combat tax avoidance, tax evasion, and Manitoba and Canada being used as tax havens by creating a public, searchable registry of beneficial owners of corporations in Manitoba. One of the reasons that we can’t get cooperation from international tax havens, is that Canada is itself a tax haven as well. Having a list of beneficial owners of corporations is an essential step in meeting Canada’s obligations on tax havens, but the PC Government failed to make such a registry either public or searchable.
- Call on the Federal Government to be more aggressive in combating tax evasion and tax avoidance, including international tax havens.
We will not prejudge the results of the Commission.
However, I will return to what we said about our priority, and that is on new growth and good jobs. New and growing companies, and good jobs with benefits.
If we grow the economy and expand the tax base first, we can work toward reducing the tax burden later.