ON APRIL 26, the Nova Scotia NDP government passed its second budget since coming to power. The budget raises the province’s harmonized sales tax (HST) to 15 per cent – the highest in the country.
Nova Scotians will see the HST climb from 13 per cent to 15 per cent starting in July and all retired civil servants will have a cap put on cost of living adjustments to their pensions.
NDP Premier Darrell Dexter said, “Nobody likes raising taxes. Nobody likes cuts. You know, our challenge is a very simple one in many respects: we currently spend more money than we take in in revenue.”
The Liberal Parties in power in Ontario and BC are introducing the HST July 1 while the provincial NDP parties in both those provinces say they are opposed to this form of regressive individual taxation.
A year ago, Dexter said he would not have to raise taxes in order to keep the provincial books balanced. The NDP gained power in June 2009.
“This is a necessary part of getting the province back to financial health,” Dexter said. “It is part of the three things we need to do. This is raising revenue [through increased individual taxation], but we are also engaged in an extensive expenditure-management initiative [cutting pensions and public spending], (plus growing the economy).”
According to the CBC, Dexter said there are plenty of tough decisions still to come before the province is out of the red. Dexter did not explain how the NDP government was going to grow the economy while cutting public services, public enterprise and pensions. The economy is controlled by owners of capital. How will the economy grow if owners of capital refuse to reinvest within Nova Scotia the amount they claim from what Nova Scotia workers produce, and the government refuses to increase investments in social programs, public services and public enterprise?
Out of a population of 775,000, Statistics Canada considers 497,600 Nova Scotians as working people (labour force). 451,200 of those are working – 367,300 full-time, 83,800 part-time – while 46,500 are unemployed (9.3 per cent). The employment rate is 58.2 per cent meaning that 323,800 (41.8 per cent) of Nova Scotians are not working — retired, too young, at school, unemployed or not considered part of the working people (labour force).
Workers should think about an appropriate employment rate in a modern socialized economy. A higher employment rate in a socialized economy combined with the advanced use of machinery and scientific technique generally means more social product is available to be claimed. Is it acceptable that 323,800 people out of a population of only 775,000 are not producing social product or providing services? Certainly, the 46,500 unemployed and 83,800 working part-time represent a failure of the capitalist system to utilize in a rational and complete manner the human factor in the production of social product and provision of services. One thing has become clear, the working class and its allies can no longer leave these crucial economic issues up to owners of capital and the marketplace to decide. An alternative to the egocentrism and anarchy of the business cycle is necessary and possible. It can be done!
Source: TML Daily, May 19, 2010 – No. 93