DAVE AGAR

Wednesday, April 30 Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 4/30/2014 12:00:00 AM

If you personally earn less than $150,000, you are not considered a high-income earner, at least not in Ontario you're not.  Count yourself lucky.

Some civil servant or civil servants have leaked information that looks suspiciously like budget documents of Finance Minister Charles Sousa.  He's to present his first budget, and maybe his last, tomorrow afternoon at 4 o'clock.

A few media outlets have their hands on the documents and they show that personal income taxes will be boosted on individuals earning more than $150,000. The tax would be on any income above that threshold.  This does not apply to family income.

There will be a boost in the provincial tax on tobacco, the first increase in that particular tax since 2006.

The provincial tax on aviation fuel would be boosted from the current 2.7 cents a litre to 6.7 cents, phased in over 4 years.   Airlines would certainly push that cost off to their passengers one way or another.

Big Corporations would effectively pay more tax because the government will terminate some corporate tax credits.

There's no doubt the Wynne Government believes it needs additional revenue especially to fund transit and transportation upgrades across the province.  We won't get the full picture of what all of this means until the actual budget is presented but the drum beats get louder by the hour that this budget is going down and we're going to the polls.

TRANSIT

Olivia Chow and Karen Stintz, two of the many who hope to be Toronto's next mayor have put their cards on the table when it comes to transit improvements in the city.  They did it yesterday in different venues.

Fellow candidate John Tory was quick to jump on Chow's statements because she initially promised to keep property tax increases at the rate of inflation.  Based on what she said yesterday, if she got her way you'd get hit with an inflationary property tax increase, plus an extra 1.6-percent a year...ad nauseam.   So the tax promise is already broken and she's not even elected.   John Tory pointed that out and insisted that if he were to become mayor that would not happen.

Olivia Chow as on NewsTalk 1010's Late Night with Joe Warmington last night saying there should have been a big publicity campaign by the city to tell people about the two lanes shutdown on the Gardiner and how people should take Go Transit.  To wit Warmington jokingly offered a solution.

As for Karen Stintz, she declared war, not on cars, but on congestion.  I understand what she was trying to do do but in my world this is a war on cars and on the people who drive them.  Stintz would impose a 3 dollar tax on every motorist who uses the 8,700 Green P parking spaces in lots downtown.   So no matter if you're parked for 15 minutes or 15 hours...it would cost you an extra 3 dollars each time. She says that would raise $114 million over 15 years.   

STERLING

By now you've likely heard that the NBA has come down on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling...a fine which is a mere pittance based on his wealth.  Banned for life from virtually everything NBA and a promise from the new commissioner to do all he can to convince the team owners to force Sterling to sell his club.   75 percent of the owners would have to consent and that is not a given.

What Donald Sterling said was reprehensible...a racist rant that should be condemned all around and it has been.  But to force a man to sell his primary income...that might be legally difficult.

First: Sterling does not appear to have broken any laws.

Second: The U.S. has it's coveted First Amendment...freedom of speech.

Third: The tape recording of this bigoted blowhard talking to his ex girlfriend. If he knew he was being recorded that's one thing but if he did not know, one could argue that his privacy was violated.

Fourth: Will the other owners have reservations about forcing him to sell for those reasons I've stated and because what they'd be really saying is that any team owner could be kicked out of the club because the others don't like him; don't like what he says; don't like how he acts.  How many other owners could that imperil?

The next move is up to Donald Sterling.  At 80 years old I'd recommend he sell, take the money and run because he doesn't have much time left.  But at that age, he may want to go out on his own terms and what's a few million dollars in lawyers fees to fight this out in the courts.

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