Friday, August 7, 2015

Fighting for tax fairness

There is, in Canada a growing disconnect between taxes and services. The idea is to use words to get people to understand that government does not do anything for you. This idea is wrong, so we need to use words to gain back the argument, so people can understand that government works for us. Here are some General rules to use if you are in a position to influence a persons thinking.

1. Don’t say “wasteful government spending.” It undermines our message about taxes. When people hear or read about wasteful spending they immediately think: “I can’t trust the same government that wasted a billion dollars to use new tax dollars for rebuilding public services.”

2. Do Link taxes to specific services that are a priority for the public. People do not mind paying more taxes if it’s linked to specific priorities and services that are popular with the public.

3. Do Associate taxes with specific public employees. Frontline workers – all of you – are the message about taxes. Tell them what you do for a living. This makes taxes tangible for people.

4. Do Not Brand tax-cutters as irresponsible, they are misguided.

5. Do Remind people about the moral dimension of taxes – we all have a moral obligation to contribute to building a country that is fair, responsible, equal and full of opportunity.

Do Remind them that tax-cutters / tax evaders are people who may want to skip out on their responsibility to help build a better country or better yet say that these people have forgotten their responsibility.

Specific talking points
You hear some complain about… High taxes  
You can say: Taxes are what we pay to be Canadian – to have a high quality of life and an opportunity to reach our full potential.

You hear someone say Tax cuts benefit all of us
You can say that tax cuts are about wealthy people and corporations trying to skip out on their responsibility to help build a country that provides every family with dignity, security and opportunity.

You hear someone talk about the unfair tax burden
You can remind them that our parents invested in the future through their taxes.  Our parents invested their tax money in public highways, hospitals, schools, parks and libraries. Today, we’re all reaping the benefits from these investments. We must also be responsible and continue investing in our future.

You hear a person complain about the latest tax grab
You can remind them that public services like health care and education are important to all of us and they are a good value. If we need to pay a little more for these services, then we should – or we will just end up paying more for them in the private sector.

A person argues that tax cuts In the last decade taxes went down.
You can remind them that tax cuts in the last decade were for the wealthiest and the tax burden actually went up for working families.
Tax cuts for corporations and corporate executives are why governments are now talking about cuts to public services.

Corporate executives do not want to pay for the public services your family relies on because they have enough money to afford whatever they want in the private marketplace.


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