Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mo' Money? Yes, but ...

The new Ontario Child Benefit kicks in next week, and it will over the next four years mean substantially more money for lower income families to help lift them out of poverty. It starts at up to $50 per month -- which will be put on top of the federal benefit, as most provinces do with their supplements -- and will increase to $92 by 2011, with the usual clawbacks based on net income.

Many on welfare, though, are up in arms that the traditional back to school and winter clothing allowances are being eliminated -- even though the packet they are getting amounts to more money during the year, than they would have received had the allowances stayed in place. I can understand why parents would be upset about this, but I personally think that having cost certainty and a steady flow of monthly benefits is better than getting lump sums which tend to encourage irresponsible spending.

Some major cities are stepping up with bonuses of their own for people on welfare. They can do this because the benefit actually represents an uploading of services from the local level to the provincial. Smaller communities with smaller property tax bases, obviously, cannot afford to do so; and I do think there is an argument that more can be done and the allowances paid made larger. Overall, and despite the concerns, I think that overall the benefit is a step in the right direction and puts Ontario in line with the other provinces for a change.

I still think the feds have to do their part and make the portion that is fully taxable, tax free. 97% of families -- those with combined incomes under $100k -- would not lose a single penny if this was done; in fact most would get more. If this government supports "family values" then it should value families and give them the break they need. I believe no family under that income threshold and with children under seven should pay any net taxes at all; and those with kids between seven and eighteen should see a net reduction in their income taxes in the range of 50%. Children, along with seniors, should always be our top priority.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.

No comments: