Monday, 9 January 2017

Tax, Tax and More Tax by Susan L.

  A new carbon tax was added to the cost of fossil fuels on the January 1. Or rather, the manufacturers of fossil fuels were taxed which was quickly placed on consumers' shoulders. This means driving our cars and heating our homes has become even more expensive. Anything that is shipped by truck or boat or rail will also become more expensive which is pretty much everything.
  The demands placed on food banks is already at record highs.
  Just before Christmas, the news was filled with stories about people who had their hydro cut off because they had to make the choice to either eat or pay the bill.
  The government wants us to convert to electric heat and electric cars to reduce emissions and help the environment. It's a touchy-feely platitude to make us feel better about being shafted once again.
  I thought that's what emissions testing did? This is a mandatory test to make sure there your vehicle runs "clean". Without doing this test, you cannot renew the licence plate. (Hmm, is that yet another tax on a tax? I know we pay sales tax on the renewal sticker price.)
  Electricity is not cheap in this country. I know people who have electric heat in their homes and when the thermostat dips, they end up paying hundreds of dollars a month to simply stop the pipes from freezing. A lot of them have wood burning stoves to offset the expense.
  So, I have a question. Why are wind turbines shut off? If these costly monstrosities are supposed to help keep energy prices low, shouldn't they be the main source of electricity all the time? The wind rarely stops blowing where wind farms are planted yet time and again, I drive past only to see a fraction of the turbines actually working. How and who penalizes the energy companies for making "too much" power?
  Yet, there are times when we end up buying power from the US or Quebec.
  I don't presume to understand the politics in all of this.
  So, back to my original point: the cost of having a vehicle in Ontario has just gone up. Again.
  A person buys a used car. They have to pay sales tax on the same vehicle, when purchased new, was already taxed. This is not calculated on the actual purchase price but through the carefully guarded "Black Book". Even if you only paid a dollar for the car, you have to pay the taxes according to the book. (I guess this stops people from trying to avoid paying yet another outrageous tax grab by hiding what they actually spent.)
  Our driver's licence is taxed. Our annual plate sticker has taxes buried in the cost. Not just sales tax, but a road tax is in there as well. Gas prices are mostly made up of a half a dozen taxes. One of which is supposed to go to road improvement and maintenance.
  It seems it isn't because the city of Toronto just voted to add tolls (read: tax) to a major highway leading into the city.
  I'd be in a lot of trouble without a car. It isn't a luxury. I live in a rural area with no public transit. To move into an area with these services is beyond my means. Even if I gave up the car, I couldn't afford to live in a major city. The property taxes would bankrupt me.

  So. This rant is about accountability. Where is all this money going?
  But, when a vehicle is a necessity in such a vast country, they've got us over a barrel: an oil barrel.
  Thank You, Lord, that You have blessed me with more than sufficient to live on. Thank You that I have a car and a warm home. Thank You most of all that I live in a country where I am free to criticize the government.
  "And Jesus answered and said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at Him." Mk 12:17

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