Election 2011 UnSpun

Why Does Down Look Like Up to the Conservatives?

by Lynne Fernandez

Coming into work today I was struck by two large billboards. One has a photo of Hugh McFayden with a promise to cut taxes. The other delivers a simple text message: Conservatives will cut taxes; NDP will raise taxes. That a Conservative party would promise to cut taxes is old hat, but can we say the same about this NDP government raising taxes?

Given that a government’s future behavior is best predicted by past behavior, let’s examine the NDP’s record on taxes since coming into office.

CCPA Mb. started reporting on the NDP’s tax record in our 2006 Alternative Provincial Budget: “As cited in Budget 2003, the period between 2000 and 2003 was witness to the ‘largest four-year cut in personal income taxes in Manitoba history.’ Between 2001 and 2003, the average Manitoban received an 11.5% personal tax cut.”

Want more detail? The corporate tax rate was 17% when the NDP took office in 1999. Today, the corporate tax rate is 12%. That would be a 5% decrease in the corporate tax rate.

Manitoba is the only province in Canada to have a 0% tax rate for small business.

Finally, last year CCPA Mb. noted that since it took office, the current government has removed $1 billion from revenues through tax cuts.

CCPA Mb. has spent the last 10 years criticizing the NDP government for cutting taxes too much, so this Conservative prediction is pretty hard to take seriously.

It would be helpful if the Conservatives would back up their predictions with credible evidence. Presented as it is, this one falls flat on its face.

So back to the question: why does “down” look like “up” to the Conservatives? Answer: Too much spin is disorienting.

Now you’re “unspun”.

Lynne Fernandez is a political economist with the CCPA Mb.

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