If there’s one thing that the federal government’s announced changes to small business tax rules for the purposes of closing tax avoidance loopholes has done, it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of comments from the “Tax Bad! Hulk Smash!” crowd, who have come up with all manner of misleading talking points and crocodile tears, while interested parties (such as doctors and farmers) who have been using these loopholes to avoid paying taxes are crying poverty in the media, where there has been very little pushback from credible economists to these sob stories. Particularly galling are those who insist that the ability to engage in income splitting is somehow more virtuous because they’re small business owners, as though there hasn’t been a whole cohort of people who would love income splitting to allow their spouse to be a stay-at-home parent (which is a whole entire other public policy discussion about the value of women in the workforce).
And don't even get me started about the backwards view that a woman doesn't contribute to a family business if she just manages a household. https://t.co/vThXpwOacN
— Lisa Raitt (@lraitt) August 18, 2017
And lo and behold, Jason Kenney decided to try to get his kicks in despite the fact that it’s a federal issue and he’s currently running in the provincial sphere. The problem? That he’s offering a completely disingenuous position.
Alberta small businesses are struggling. But the federal Liberals want to raise their taxes. Why is the NDP silent on this federal tax grab? pic.twitter.com/eOzhr1TsGt
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) August 17, 2017
Err, the small business tax rate isn’t changing. Loopholes for tax avoidance are being closed, last I checked. https://t.co/8OK6tHIKWZ
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) August 17, 2017
If your problem is you earn too much $$ and you don't want to pay the top personal income tax rate, you're not 'struggling' https://t.co/M9OJE78UrC
— Stephen Gordon (@stephenfgordon) August 17, 2017
And that’s the rub – these changes aren’t affecting struggling small business owners. They’re not affecting their ability to keep the business liquid, or to save for retirement, because those haven’t been affected (as we recall, Kevin Milligan has explained this several times). And for the “Tax Bad! Hulk Smash!” crowd to try and cast these changes in such a manner is utterly ludicrous. It’s an attempt to paint the Liberals with a brush of being job killers and high taxers, which is not what these changes are about. It’s about ensuring that people don’t avoid paying taxes by virtue of these measures, so unless they’re keen to promote other forms of tax avoidance or evasion, trying to close loopholes shouldn’t be treated as an added burden to people who are doing well for themselves.