As older Maritimers give up their driving licences, how will they get around ? Phone-in : Which reduction or elimination of a government service would you be willing to accept ?March 19, 2010 2:17 PM
- The federal finance minister and his counterparts at junior levels of government are making political calculations about where to cut programs, services and spending
Put Yourself In Jim Flaherty's Shoes : You know, the traditional new pair of shoes the federal finance minister buys and puts on during the photo op before delivering the budget.
For that matter, put yourself in the shoes of any provincial finance minister or the chief financial officer of your municipality.
They're all faced with a demand for public services, which cost taxpayers' dollars. And this year, politicians at all levels are cobbling together budgets while struggling with deficits - a shortfall of dollars to meet expenditures on everything from the troops in Afghanistan to emergency rooms and municipal potholes.
But citizens aren't keen on any tax increases. And while no coroner has ever logged "taxes" as a cause of death, the sentiment that we're "taxed to death" has driven the discussion towards cuts to public services.
before going to the phone-in, we heard what Graham Steele, Nova Scotia's finance minister had to say after a round of consultations with taxpayers...also known as service users.
Hanging Up the Keys - But Then What ? Our Thursday, March 18th phone-in touched a raw nerve with many of you. We asked if you would support a driving retirement program for seniors. The idea was floated in an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It concludes that we collectively turn a blind eye to the risks involved when it comes to elderly seniors who no longer have the reflexes or abilities drive. And it suggests that - just like planning for a job retirement, we should plan for driving retirement, and create programs to support that goal.
Well, the discussion continued via email after the phone in, and Producer Deborah Woolway joined me in the studio to read your comments.
"Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven, But Nobody Wants To Die" : Many politicians believe the quickest way to die in the next election is to announce a tax increase. A recent Ekos poll confirmed that 86% of Canadians did not check off "Raise my taxes" as a means of fighting deficits.
But with deficits in this year's budgets - leading to future interest charges on growing debts - that would leave finance ministers with one option for reaching fiscal heaven : reducing or eliminating spending and services.
Which is fine. But have you ever noticed that when reporters on the street ask people about that, they generally get vague statements about "eliminating waste". That's fine, too : wasting public money is wrong.
But we all use government services. You're using one right now : CBC Radio. And the fact is, we all expect certain public services - whether it's getting your hip replaced or enrolling your child in public school or getting the potholes fixed or having the playing fields maintained.
So - if you believe governments at all levels should work towards balanced budgets and you don't want your taxes increased, which government service - at any level - would you be willing to do without ? Our guest was Dr Jim McNiven, Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie University.
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