Thursday, March 10, 2011

Corporate tax cut issue getting worse for Conservatives

For at least the second time in the last month or so, a poll has come in showing that the public is agreeing with the view that corporate tax cuts should be put to a halt.
But even the Liberals can take heart that their demand the government back away from $6 billion in corporate tax cuts finds strong backing, with 59 per cent in favour.

Perhaps surprisingly, 59 per cent also want the government to raise the corporate tax rate.
Yes, another poll. It is worth taking note of it because it is similar in result to one at the end of January where half the respondents supported the opposition position on the question of further corporate tax cuts. For what it's worth, even in the U.S. last week there was a favourable response to the prospect of tax increases to remedy state budget deficits when faced with choices like cutting state employee benefits, roads, etc. Who would guess you'd get a result like that in the U.S. these days where we assume Republican anti-tax mantras are like gospel. When choices are put to people, clearly, it helps the argument.

In addition to the public gut feeling that appears to be there on the issue, we also have democratic aspects of the issue to factor in now too. Recall this from February 9th: "A Liberal motion calling on the government to roll back the corporate tax rate to 18 per cent has passed by a vote of 149-134, with the support of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois." And now we have yesterday's Speaker ruling on the Brison motion, ruling a prima facie breach of privilege on the government's refusal to provide documents on the cost of the corporate tax cuts.

For these reasons it's a little puzzling to be seeing columns like this one from yesterday that still paint the issue as dire for Liberals: "Liberal plan for tax hike a tough sell." The circumstances are suggesting that people shouldn't be cowed by Conservative websites, talking points and the many corporate allies populating the op-ed pages these days. There's a good argument to be made here and the contempt argument bolsters it.