Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Are we getting value for our tax dollar? - With update

Very informative article in today's National Post - Education finances in Ontario: A pre-election fact guide, by David R. Johnson, professor of economics at Wilfrid Laurier University and fellow-in-residence at the C.D. Howe Institute:

...With about five million households in the province, and an annual increase since 2003-2004 in education spending of roughly $600 per household, Ontario's per student funding will exceed that of every other province except Manitoba.

Does spending more money per student increase student learning? A vast research literature asks if smaller elementary classes, or more teachers per student, actually improve elementary assessment results. There is little evidence they do...
( . . . )

Ontario spent more money per student than Alberta, had smaller classes than Alberta and obtained poorer results. This and many other similar examples show there is no obvious relationship between the amount of money put into the public education sector and the outcome

Read the whole article - it's quite enlightening.

Meanwhile, we have this report from Marketwire that the Caledonia Citizens Alliance estimates the tab for Caledonia to date around the $290 million mark:

"We are concerned that the Premier has been hiding many of the associated costs of this dispute from the Ontario taxpayers," says Ken Hewitt, spokesperson for the Alliance. "McGuinty's accounting fails to take into consideration the astronomical OPP and Hydro costs that are a direct result of this crisis in Caledonia," continued Mr. Hewitt.

The Ontario Government has not yet released what it calls "other ongoing costs" and claims they are yet to be determined. Frank Stoneman, a local business owner and volunteer with the Alliance expressed his concerns, "This lack of information and accountability from the Provincial Government disturbs me. $290 million is $30 million more than the budget for the Ministry of the Environment in 2006. It's a great deal of our hard-earned money."

No wonder Dalton McGuinty needs 'every penny' of your health tax! (It goes into general revenues.)

* * * *

: One of my loyal readers expressed surprise and even outrage about the fact that most of the health tax ends up in general revenues.

This Globe editorial suggests that the opposition parties should be stressing this:

The challenge for Mr. Tory is to convince voters that he can cut taxes without gutting health care and education as Mr. McGuinty alleges he intends to do. The Conservative Leader also needs to remind voters that what the Liberals call "a health premium" is really a surtax that goes into general revenues, with only a notional allocation to health care.

And we have another 'reality check' here:
As for the Liberals, they are playing their own games with the health-tax numbers. Premier Dalton McGuinty says that Tory's plan to repeal the tax would take $2.6 billion out of the health-care system and suggests that would mean fewer doctors and nurses and longer wait times.

But the revenue from the tax is only notionally attached to health care. Levied as a surtax on the provincial income tax, it actually flows into the consolidated revenue fund.

Thus, if the health tax is repealed, the government could make up for the lost revenue by moving other money around.

And from Howard Hampton via the National Post:
“Calling it a health tax was just a ruse,” Hampton said.
In a press conference at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto, Hampton said Dalton McGuinty’s “so-called health tax” puts $2.6-billion a year into the province’s consolidated revenue fund by targeting families who can afford it the least.

Yet Dalton says he needs 'every single penny'.



Steph said...

What??? The health care tax goes into general revenues? I clearly missed your original post on that. Now my partial apathy about this election has turned into full on outrage! I sure wish that the MSM had jumped on this the way they did with the faith based schools now non-issue.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Yes, Steph.

Ask your Liberal candidate about that.

Swift said...

Anybody that did not strenuously object to the inclusion of the faith based school's issue in the campaign is incompetent to run a campaign for kindergarten class president. There are enough good issues to run three campaigns.

Anonymous said...

Teachers got the increased education dollars, not students. It was never meant for students - they don't have a big expensive union.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Teachers got the increased education dollars, not students.

That's Dalton's style - buy peace with our money. The problem is that that kind of appeasement never ends.

Matt said...

That's Dalton's style - buy peace with our money. The problem is that that kind of appeasement never ends.

That's hardly a problem, it will secure Liberal reelection time and time again!

paulsstuff said...

Joanne,this is off-topic but wanted to mention it.

I received apamphlet from the Liberal candidate for my riding,Joe Dickson.Contained in it is a picture of McGuinty with a list of his supposed accomplishments in the last 4 years.

The one I really chuckled at was McGuinty saying that he has lowered Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels.A quick google search provides this:

According to the provincial Ministry of the Environment, Ontario produced 205 megatonnes of greenhouse gases in 2005, a 16 per cent increase since 1990, when it produced 177 megatonnes.

I'm not sure who to contact with this info,but fudging info in your campaign literature is something the voters of Ontario should be aware of.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I'm not sure who to contact with this info,but fudging info in your campaign literature is something the voters of Ontario should be aware of.

I should write a book - "Lies My Premier Told Me".

liberal supporter said...

You should report it to the candidate's riding association. They did announce that they will reduce GHG to below 1990 levels by 2014 this past June.

Anonymous said...

Value for our education taxdollar?
Nope. Not by a long shot.
Over 70% of our education taxdollar goes to salaries. The school boards get the rest. Does it ever get to the students? Furthermore do we really need elaborate school boards to manage what's left?

Matt said...

You should report it immediately to the campaign HQ of the PC candidate in the riding so they can use it to discredit the Liberal candidate. Hopefully that can resonate further than just the riding. Are party literature pieces authorized by the top or by ridings associations?

Matt said...

give them a scan and/or the original literature when you do it

Anonymous said...

The Liars TV commercial says they expanded the teacher's union by 8,000 members and hired a bunch of other civil servants, it's no wonder Dolton is getting such an easy ride - he's filled his gravy train with media savvy sycophants.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Paul, I think you need to do a post about this!

liberal supporter said...

Over 70% of our education taxdollar goes to salaries.

Of which 20% would be given in tithes by any teacher who wants to work in a faith based school.

Swift said...

LS your ignorance is showing again. The other day you didn't know what the World Bank was. Today you don't know that a tithe is 10%. But then your church may be as greedy as your political party.

liberal supporter said...

The other day you didn't know what the World Bank was.

You'll have to refresh me on what makes you believe that. Was it because I consider Canada the "richest" country in the world, and you took that in the strictly materialistic way of looking at international per capita GDP figures? Because if so, you can have Lichtenstein with its bank industry, I'll take Canada any day. Per capita GDP does not mean the half million residents of Lichtenstein are all making lots of money, only that the banks there are and the rest of the population is small.

I don't recall discussing the World Bank. I only found International Monetary Fund figures, and they spelled Lichtenstein differently than you did.

No church has ever turned down a 20% tithe. The standard rule says 10%, and usually you are expected to consider that before tax.

My point was that teachers in faith based schools will find it is practically a condition of employment that they tithe, and since the church will make them feel like they owe their jobs to the church, they will be expected to double tithe. They can certainly afford it, right? Besides, the more money that comes off the top and becomes untaxed, the better for the church. The double tither is certainly rewarded in other ways.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the huge top-ups to the teachers pensions provided by the NDP and the fiberals.

Every teacher in Ontario is now guaranteed to retire a millionaire.

paulsstuff said...

Hey Joanne.There's actually a few,uh,lies in the brochure.

1.In four short years, we have reduced Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions to below 1990 levels.

2. And hiring 8000 nurses so far for better patient care and 9000 more in the works.(A quick search of the Ontario Nurse's Association website shows this as being untrue.They have hired but nowhere near 9,000.

I'm going to take it to the Conservative campaign office in the morning.

Red Tory said...

Hmmm. Interesting that you’re so outraged about the Health Tax going into general revenues. I don’t seem to recall any outrage when monies from the federal government transferred to the provincial government are distributed with no accountability. The hundreds of millions of dollars for “taming of the queue”… provided without any oversight, reporting or accountability whatsoever. That money simply goes into the provinces’ general revenue. I’ve complained long and loudly about this for ages and not ONE single, solitary so-called “conservative” could give a damn about it. The reaction I always get is “So what?” Oh, but now it’s something the provincial Liberals are doing… well, then it’s an outrage! Heh. You guys are too funny.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I'm going to take it to the Conservative campaign office in the morning.

Good for you, Paul. If there are any call-in talk shows in your area, it wouldn't hurt to mention it if the opportunity presents itself. Get the work out.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Red, I'm afraid you're way-off base on your comparison.

This "health-tax" was touted as necessary, and voters are given the impression that the money goes straight into health care, when in fact, most of it goes into general revenues. The Liberal War room's argument was that if Tory were to scrap the health tax, he is taking money right out of health care. This is very misleading.

Efficiencies therefore could be found elsewhere, without taking the money directly from the health care budget.

Furthermore, Harper's transfer of funds to the provinces without meddling in their dispersement is totally in keeping with his "hands-off" philosophy that provinces should be allowed to be accountable directly to the people about how they spend money in areas of their own jurisdiction!.

But hey, nice to hear from ya. ;)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Paulsstuff, I don't have the info right on hand, but I do remember reading somewhere that many of the nurses hired were only part-time, which further muddies the issue.

Ruth said...

You're right, most of the nurses are hired part-time, but when he says they are going to hire more, where are they going to get them. Last week our little town local paper had 6 different nursing home ads in for RPN's and RN's. There are no nurses to hire.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

There are no nurses to hire.

I've heard stories of nurses having to hold two or more jobs just to make ends meet. Maybe some have just given up and left the profession.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question. If McGuinty's claimed to have hired 8,000 new teachers, how can that be?

Why are we hiring so many teachers when all but a few GTA boards are continuing dramatice decrease in enrolments.

Why do we need more teachers for fewer students?

Why, when student enrollment is in decline are non-teaching staff at school boards on the rise?


Thanks Dalton.