In late March and early April, my 2018 Tax Guide was sent to homes throughout the riding of Battle River-Crowfoot. The main intent of this circulation was to provide constituents with valuable information about what they can and cannot claim on this year’s income tax.
As many of you have noted and criticized, the current Liberal government eliminated many of the tax credits our government brought in while we were in power from 2006 to 2015.
This included the Education and Textbook Credit designed to help students and their parents; the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit which allowed you to claim for your children’s sport and art programs; and the Hiring Credit for Small Business providing up to $1,000 in reimbursement on Employment Insurance (EI) premiums.
The Trudeau government also reduced the annual amount allowed to be put into your Tax Free Savings Account from $10,000 to $5,500.
Another and equally important reason for the distribution of the Tax Guide was to provide constituents with an opportunity to have their say. The end of the booklet included a small questionnaire and space for written comments which could be sent back to me postage free.
To date, I have received numerous responses and some extremely valuable input from Battle River-Crowfoot constituents.
The majority of the returns come from seniors who have overwhelmingly, but not surprisingly, experienced a decline in their standard of living.
Most attribute this to higher taxes and higher utility costs with one senior writing “Trudeau promised lower taxes for middle income and seniors but in fact taxes have increased and with the implementation of the carbon taxes (it) will increase even more.”
A majority of all respondents mentioned their opposition to the carbon tax and especially the GST being applied to this tax. Another senior wrote, “I really hate carbon taxes that raise the cost of everything and makes us poorer as individuals and uncompetitive as a nation. I especially resent the inclusion of it on natural gas as I believe in Canada – the ability to heat our home is a basic need.”
This sentiment about home heating being a basic need that should be exempt from taxation was expressed numerous times.
Again, a majority of those who described themselves as working Canadians said their standard of living has declined as a result of increased taxes and rising utility costs. A few expressed the view “this Liberal government is out of control and it will take years to bounce back. Help!”
One couple wrote, “As a parent from a rural area with two university students to support – I am so disappointed about that the Education and Textbook Tax credits have been scrapped. Our children do not have the option to live at home like big city kids and their living expenses are difficult for us to cover, forcing us to go further into debt.”
Unfortunately, there is one sentiment I totally agree with “the future of our children is bleak at best,” especially if the Liberal government does not get spending under control, return to surplus as our Conservative government left them and start paying down the debt.
While many of my constituents are experiencing financial difficulties and are concerned about their children and grandchildren’s future, I think we would all agree that these burdens pale in comparison to the loss experienced in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
To those parents of the Bronco players who lost their lives, to all the hockey players’ parents and host parents and to the community at large, on behalf of Battle River-Crowfoot our deepest sympathies and prayers at this extremely difficult time. God bless.
Hon. Kevin Sorenson, M.P., (Battle River-Crowfoot)