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Transit Pass Tax Credit

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ronald1987

Guest
I'd just like to say that I admire this step, taken by the Canadian govt., to get people out of their cars and into the busses and trains. You are an example to the world, if only more countries would do the same!
transit rides get tax breaks

Harper spells out tax relief for users of public transit
By PETTI FONG


Friday, December 30, 2005, Page A4

VANCOUVER -- Stephen Harper, who acknowledges he rarely uses public transit, boarded a bus yesterday to repeat his promise to give transit riders a tax break.

In his third announcement in three days in British Columbia, the Conservative Leader said he would bring in a 16-per-cent federal tax credit for transit users who buy monthly or annual passes.
 
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JoeyCuppa

Guest
Pardon my french, but that's bullshit. The day Harper gives people a tax break for using transit instead of their cars is the day that I start voting for him. In other words, never.
 
A

AlvinofDiaspar

Guest
ronald:

It wouldn't do hoot for public transit since the same party is inclined not to invest in capital infrastructure, particularly in urban areas! All the tax breaks in the world wouldn't help if there aren't any buses, streetcars or subway to ride.

AoD
 
G

ganjavih

Guest
Well, Harper's Conservatives aren't the government yet... we'll find out in a few weeks though...
 
O

Observer Walt

Guest
Joey: Not sure that I follow your logic. Are you suggesting that Harper will "never" implement this tax break which he has proposed? He has made a pretty specific promise here. Given his constant "harping" (pardon the pun) on integrity in government and keeping of promises, I would seriously doubt that he would want to break this promise and be called out on it. Say what you like about him, but I would assume that if he is elected, this quite specific promise will be implemented.

As an aside, it would almost certainly attract support in Parliament from the NDP and BQ as it is right in line with their thinking as well.
 
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AlvinofDiaspar

Guest
A more likely possiblity is that Harper will use this as "proof" his party takes action on urban issues.

AoD
 
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afransen TO

Guest
And this only amounts to peanuts, mind you. Harper should be funding expansion. Voting for him because he makes transit passes tax deductable is shortsighted.
 
B

bizorky

Guest
Joey: Not sure that I follow your logic. Are you suggesting that Harper will "never" implement this tax break which he has proposed? He has made a pretty specific promise here. Given his constant "harping" (pardon the pun) on integrity in government and keeping of promises, I would seriously doubt that he would want to break this promise and be called out on it. Say what you like about him, but I would assume that if he is elected, this quite specific promise will be implemented
I'd be wary putting "election promises" and "logic" in the same sentence. If elected as a minority government, the Conservatives would have a great degree of difficulty trying to keep up with fulfilling all their promises. One need only to look at the Liberal government that just fell; its tough to do anything as a minority, never mind everything.

Implementing such a tax break is not exactly an easy task. It requires changes to the federal tax code and is likely not going to be of any benefit to the low income earner. Federal money for direct investment in transit infrastructure, service improvement and/or fare reduction would go much further in attracting people to transit and making it more affordable.

Remember, Harper is promising a 2% reduction in the GST. That will cost the federal revenue billions of dollars. It will get difficult to fulfill the little promises like this.
 
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EnviroTO

Guest
This would mean the TTC would issue a receipt on passes and Revenue Canada would need to change the tax forms to handle bus pass receipts. Many self-employed keep a ton of receipts sitting in filing cabinets for years but most normal employees don't... would bus pass receipts be a special tax form appended to the return or receipts you keep in case of an audit? Wouldn't it be less convoluted to give 16% to transit organizations for each monthly pass sold... one form filled out by each transit organization per month or per year rather than extra processing for something like a million individual tax returns? One could argue that the transit organizations might not pass on the savings but on the other hand the transit organizations could raise pass prices anyways knowing people will know about the tax credit.

In any case I guess anything that helps transit passes get purchased is a good thing. If given to the TTC directly it would be $45M or so for Toronto. With 250,000 in Toronto already on the plan though... would it increase the number of pass purchases or simply put money in people's pocket for people that, for the most part, would have a transit pass already? I would imagine $45M directly to the TTC would improve transit more than $172 in a person's pocket.
 
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JoeyCuppa

Guest
Exactly what Bizorky and Enviro said.

It's an election promise. Does anyone actually still believe these? Why doesn't anyone ask Harper how he's going to reduce the GST (I find it quite funny that he doesn't want to eliminate it, despite the "HUGE" budget surplus, although he criticizes the Libs for not eliminating it as promised), plus fund things like the $100/month "baby bonus", the money for kids' sports programs, the elimination of immigration fees, etc., etc., etc.

Election promises are for the voters who don't pay enough attention.
 
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afransen TO

Guest
Eliminating the GST would entail losing roughly $30 billion in annual revenue... I agree though, Harper will probably be hard pressed to afford the GST tax cut as well as all his other tax credits (that more or less form the backbone of his social policy).
 
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Antiloop33rpm

Guest
what about the people who walk/bike to work everyday?
Dont worry. They have a plan to get those people into cars or on transit so that they slowly return to the world of consumption and can then too, enjoy tax breaks.
 
W

wyliepoon

Guest
From the Star:

Link to article

No break for TTC riders?
Fare hike may offset Conservative discount, Mihevc warns
Harper promises pass holders 16% saving through tax credit
Jan. 20, 2006. 05:47 AM
PAUL MOLONEY
CITY HALL BUREAU

Toronto transit riders may see no benefit from Stephen Harper's promise to provide a tax credit designed to save Metropass holders $189.60 a year, says the vice-chair of the Toronto Transit Commission.

That's because the TTC may raise the Metropass by the same amount, Councillor Joe Mihevc said yesterday.

The TTC will be looking more closely at the situation if Harper's Conservatives win office on Monday.

"If we at the TTC — who are in a big budget squeeze — suddenly find out a few days from now that passengers are going to be getting a discount on their income tax, there will actually be upward pressure on increasing fares," he said.

The Metropass currently costs $98.75 a month or $1,185 a year. Harper is offering a 16 per cent discount that transit riders could claim as a credit on their income tax return.

The discount reduces the monthly pass by $15.80, which provides room for the TTC to boost the cost back up so that passholders neither gain nor lose, while providing more revenue for the transit system, Mihevc warned.

"This isn't a net benefit to riders because transit authorities will be tempted to increase fares for monthly passholders, so in the end passengers won't save."

Such a scenario would be even more likely if Harper doesn't follow through on his promise to honour transit funding agreements reached with the Paul Martin Liberals, he said.

Mihevc, a New Democrat, said he's not convinced Harper is serious about supporting transit.

"It's been a very vague commitment," he said. "I think that's the fairest thing to say and I've followed this thing very closely. Will they honour existing funding arrangements?"

The TTC could expect to see more riders as a result of the tax credit, said Michael Roschlau, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Urban Transit Association.

The transit association is worried transit systems may not be able to handle increased ridership.

"Most of the transit systems are pretty full during rush hour. To the extent it increases ridership in rush hour, we want to make sure that the investment is there to actually put more service in place to carry those people," Roschlau said.

While Harper has emphasized his tax credit would boost ridership, the TTC is struggling to handle rush-hour crowds now, Mihevc said.

"We could be in the unenviable position of having positive ridership growth and people standing out in the cold because we don't have enough buses, and we can't afford the buses we would need to carry the people," he said.

The TTC currently sells about 2 million of the monthly passes a year, but hasn't yet studied how many extra passes would be sold because of the Harper discount, said transit spokesperson Lynn Hilborn.

The TTC is projecting the system will carry 437 million rides this year, up from 424 million rides in 2005.

The transit association would like to see funding increased in future years, in addition to commitments already made.
 
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bizorky

Guest
Dont worry. They have a plan to get those people into cars or on transit so that they slowly return to the world of consumption and can then too, enjoy tax breaks
Yer killin' me, Antiloop. :p
 

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