What is this ‘tax grab’ so many people complain about?

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
April 11, 2019 - 5:11am Updated: April 11, 2019 - 10:26am
Image Credit: CFJC Today

‘TAX GRAB’ is such a nasty term.

Nobody likes a tax grab. None of us likes to pay taxes at all, let alone when there’s a tax grab going on.

I’m curious to know what a tax grab is. We throw it out there right and left whenever we get mad at being taxed for something.

I’ve been reading quite a lot about the new federal carbon tax now in effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as the current high gas prices in B.C. Together they’ve renewed debate over the B.C. carbon tax, which isn’t part of the federal tax.

The carbon tax is being characterized as a tax grab. The right-wing columnists from the far East of the country are particularly indignant about it. But while they rail about it being a tax grab, they don’t say what a tax grab is, other than it being plain they don’t like it.

Calling something a “tax grab” sounds as if whichever level of government is imposing it is reaching into our pockets and snatching our money for the fun of it, or maybe because they just like being mean.

I don’t know of any examples where a government has collected money for no reason at all. There are countless examples of our taxes being poorly used, but that’s entirely different.

We may or may not agree with the carbon tax but it has a very specific purpose. It’s supposed to be a price on pollution, as Justin Trudeau puts it. And rebates on other parts of the household budget are supposed to make it neutral or even better.

Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. But a tax grab? Hardly.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at [email protected].


Editor's Note: This opinion piece reflects the views of its author, and does not necessarily represent the views of CFJC Today or the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.