It’s supposed to be a partnership, isn’t it?

So another Minimum wage increase was announced in the paper this week. Minimum will be going up to $10.00 Oct 1st, 2011. now to be fair this isn’t news, the gov’t announced this a while ago. Perhaps a slow day for the freep?

Anyway, there are a few issues I have here ( but please don’t mistake this as meaning I’m against people earning a fair wage):

First, Labour Minister Howard states that this is good for business because it helps attract and retain workers. Now there are several problems with this statement:

  • That’s a comparative statement. it means it helps attract and retain workers compared to somewhere else. Now given that minimum is just that, what is she comparing it against? Other provinces? I hate to tell you this, but NOBODY is going to move to Manitoba because our minimum is $0.50 ( $1000 gross per year) higher.
  • It’s not minimum wage that attracts and retains workers, it’s working conditions, regular increases and benefits. By forcing this on small business, it may have the opposite effect and cost those businesses more for untrained labour, which means less to spend on experienced workers.
Beyond that there are several problems I have with the gov’t soapboxing about minimum wager increases:
  • The pool of employees (and low income category employees ) that make minimum wage as a subsistence wage is very, very small. What do I mean by the above? Factor out students ( often living at home), serving staff ( tips), those that work at minimum wage jobs with regular increases ( heck you can get more than minimum as a starting wage a timmy’s!), and you’re left with a very small pool of employees.
  • It lowers the standard of living for those low income earners earning slightly above minimum wage ( unless for some reason they receive incremental increases.
And most importantly, fairness in workplace wages is a three-part relationship. A partnership between employers and the province with employees. The employees provide fair and acceptable work. The employers provide fair working conditions, wages and benefits. And while the gov’t may think their part in this is legislating minimum wage increases, it really isn’t. Their part is to assess appropriate taxation levels for low income earners.
And that’s where they fail miserably. The NDP, the party of the working class, collects more provincial income tax on earners under $40K than anywhere else in Canada. They haven’t kept pace with other provinces with respect to tax levels for the lower class, and they certainly haven’t kept pace with basic personal exemptions when compared with other provinces. And I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would argue that we get that much more from our gov’t in Manitoba than any other province.
So be a partner, reduce the income tax amounts on the lower class and raise the personal exemption ( doubling it seems appropriate). Then you will give the lower class some relief. But of course there is a big problem with that. If you increase the personal exemption and decrease tax rates, you collect less gov’t revenue.
If you push minimum wage increases as your support for lower income earners without increasing the exemption or decreasing the tax rates, your gov’t income doesn’t just stay static, it actually increases ( just over $100 for each minimum wage earner).
I guess we can see where our provincial government’s priorities lie.

Is it because you are a bald 50+ white male?

Or is it because you work with numbers, pensions and actuarial asessments? Or most likely you are just an ignorant asshole.

I was flying back to Winnipeg from Vancouver last night. I got an exit row window seat (legroom – yaay! )
The middle seat was open, but this guy sits down in the aisle seat.
Now I really don’t mind that you wanted to spread all your stuff all over the middle seat, or even use the middle tray to spread out over. And stowimg you carry on under the middle seat instead of your aisle seat – whatever.

BUT AT LEAST HAVE THE COMMON COURTESY TO ASK IF I MIND IF YOU SPREAD OUT EVERYWHERE!!

I would have said no problem.

Asshole.

Ugh….Facepalm!

Well, ya did it again, didn’t you provincial NDP government?

You put out a news release trumpeting your new children’s arts and culture tax credit:

http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?archive=2011-05-01&item=11399

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Tax-credit–expected-to-save-Manitoba-families-3-million-a-year–121337294.html

Do you bother to do background checks on items before you issue news releases or develop policies?

Either the numbers in your news release are incorrect because you are counting tax credits already claimed under other programs, or you developed a tax credit without taking two seconds to look at the federal children’s fitness tax credit.

Either way it’s embarrassing.

What am I talking about?

Here is a section straight out of the news release:

Families will be able to apply the credit to organized and supervised arts and cultural activities taking place in Manitoba and outside a school’s regular program.  Examples include activities involving:

  • the arts (dance, drama and photography);
  • culture (music and languages);
  • wilderness and the natural environment (gardening, 4-H and scouts);
  • the development of interpersonal skills (girl guides, public speaking and cadets); and
  • receiving tutoring in school subjects.

What’s the issue? There are several of the above that already qualify for the children’s fitness tax credit, and at 15% for that, why would I claim them at 10.8% on my provincial tax return? Unless we can claim under both, but I seriously doubt that is the intention.

How can the above qualify for children’s fitness tax credit?

Here is the relevant information from the CRA website (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns360-390/365/rgnztns-eng.html):

an eligible fitness expense must be for the cost of registration or membership of an eligible child in a prescribed program of physical activity. Generally, such a program must:

  • be ongoing (either a minimum of eight consecutive weeks long or, for children’s camps, five consecutive days long);
  • be supervised;
  • be suitable for children; and
  • include a significant amount of physical activity that contributes to cardiorespiratory endurance, plus muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and/or balance.

In addition to obviously strenuous games like hockey and soccer, activities such as golf lessons, horse-back riding, sailing and bowling (as well as others that require a similar level of physical activity) are considered to be eligible for the credit. If the child is eligible for the disability tax credit, activities that result in movement and in an observable expenditure of energy in a recreational context.

If activities such as horse-back riding, sailing and bowling meet the criteria, then clearly dance meets the criteria ( so if you are a parent who hasn’t been claiming this, you should be).

And guess what – Scouts Canada has been issuing fitness tax credit receipts as well:

http://www.scouts.ca/dnn/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=X5rRzlKNVs8%3D&tabid=36

So, provincial gov’t, did you:

a)      Not do your homework in developing the arts tax credit?

b)      Inflate the numbers in the news release to make it look like it will have more effect than it will? The numbers in the news release are all off. It states that families representing 186,000 children could save up to $3M per year ( even though the title says they WILL save $3M per year). Problem with that number is that $54 tax credit for 186,000 children is $10.04 Million, not $3M. $3M would only be 55,555 children. So which is it?

-or-

c)      Are going to allow families to claim the same activity under both the provincial arts credit and federal fitness credit.

As much as I am hoping for ‘c)’, It’s more likely ‘a’ or ‘b’

I’m all for a Children’s Arts tax credit, but at least a) do you homework on similar tax credits and b) get the numbers in your new releases correct.

Good Job.

Really, Winnipeg Free Press?

Here’s a story running in today’s Free Press:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/RCMP-capture-teacher-who-ran-away-with-student-121153889.html

It’s about a teacher that ran off with a student.

The most interesting part of the story is this:

Because of the nature of the allegation against him, and now that he is in police custody, the accused cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim.

Why is it interesting? Because yesterday the Freep(and countless other media outlets)  splashed the names and photos of both the victim and accused all over the paper.

So much for protecting the identity of the victim.