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‘It feels like theft’: Ontario wineries frustrated by government obstacles

‘It feels like theft’: Ontario wineries frustrated by government obstacles:

The LCBO is a major cash cow for the much-indebted Ontario government. Last year, it returned $1.9 billion in dividends to provincial coffers – on top of the approximately $280 million in HST it makes off the sales. It’s not hard to see how it makes that much. When a consumer buys a bottle of alcohol, the LCBO takes:

  • 52 per cent of the cost of wine
  • 59 per cent of the cost of spirits
  • 39 per cent of the cost of beer

An LCBO spokeswoman says those markups fund Ontario’s social programs as well as the LCBO’s operating costs.

I’m not opposed to the LCBO’s existence but that is a lot of markup on a bottle of wine.

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The tax increase comes as airlines face increased volatility in jet-fuel prices because of the crisis in Iraq, and as they continue to adjust to the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar, which has also hit airlines because the price of fuel is measured in U.S. dollars.

Setting aside whether it’s even a good idea to raise this particular tax – I have some doubts – if you replaced ‘decline’ with ‘increase’ in the quotation it would mirror previous complaints from airlines about raising taxes in the 90s through to today.

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Queen’s Park backs slowly away from transit-dedicated tax hikes

Toronto desperately needs serious leadership on the transit file, and soon: the condo boom is going to bring even more cars on the streets, and that’s going to aggravate already horrible congestion. If Toronto wants to state that it’s a world city then it needs to have the services you’d expect of such a city. And decent public transit is high on the ‘expected services’ list.

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There is a technical term economists like to use for behavior like this. Unbelievable chutzpah.

One potentially good thing out of all this, Tim Cook will address it directly tomorrow in front of the Senate:

Mr. Cook is expected to emphasize that Apple is most likely “the largest corporate income tax payer in the U.S., having paid nearly $6 billion in taxes to the U.S. Treasury” in the last fiscal year. “Apple does not use tax gimmicks,” Mr. Cook is expected to testify.

He is expected to seek to rebut the Congressional findings by arguing that some of Apple’s largest subsidiaries do not reduce Apple’s tax liability, and to argue in support of a sweeping overhaul of the United States corporate tax code – in particular, lowering rates on companies moving foreign overseas earnings back to the United States. Apple currently assigns more than $100 billion to offshore subsidiaries.

I figured this would lead to a change in tax policy. Now I’m sure of it.

(via parislemon)

This story, the day before Cook testifies to the Senate, is probably the worst thing Apple PR could have dreamed of. I wouldn’t want to be in Cook’s shoes tomorrow though, by the same token, if I were an American taxpayer I’d be pissed as all hell about Apple’s actions regardless of the legality of those actions.