Tax essentials less, luxuries more

Re: Simple solutions to ease HST pains (Our View, May 13)

Nothing is free in this world except the air we breathe, and it is self-evident that the government at all levels – federal, provincial and municipal – need a reliable and predictable inflow of taxes if we expect to maintain the level of services we have become accustomed to receiving.

There are several basic principles pertaining to taxation in general. The ability and fairness, the ability to pay, so that the wealthy pay more than the poor. Simplicity, ease and cost of collection. Transparency. The rate of taxation should be variable – nil for food and essential personal services and supplies (ie. haircuts and feminine hygiene), but higher for such health hazards as alcohol, junk food and tobacco.

Clearly some of these don’t jibe with the HST inasmuch that the government is offering refunds to the poor. So, instead of imposing a flat rate on everything but basic foodstuffs, it should be possible to develop a flexible rate of tax, keeping in mind the gulf between fairness and luxury.

David B. Buchanan