Tuesday, March 05, 2002
Whether or not Toronto is in need of a cultural renaissance, taxpayers in Whitehorse, Moncton and Brandon, many of whom will never visit Toronto, let alone attend a cultural event there, should not be obliged to fund it.
Janes points out that Toronto is a net loser in the great tax and funding swap: "Toronto would have no problem funding whatever cultural industries it chose to if if so much cash wasn't taxed, levied and fee'd out of Toronto residents and businesses to provide services in other towns, cities and provinces."
Amen. I have spent way too much of my time in rural areas, in Canada and in the U.S., where people complain about money going to fund city projects and claim "the government's never done anything for me." Yet city residents consistently subsidize rural residents in all sorts of often-unrecognized ways. We're not just talking taxes here. The postal service charges the same rate to deliver a letter in the city and in a farm town. Which is more costly? The phone company charges the same fixed rate for service to an apartment dweller and to someone living on a farm a mile from the nearest neighbor. Which is more costly? The federal government mandates that airlines serve rural communities at a loss. Who pays for this? Etc.
I'm not advocating that we change these policies. At least, not yet. But it would be nice to see a bit more recognition of these items by those who benefit from them, as well as policymakers and editorialists.
By the way, if you haven't seen the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database, it's worth a look.
[UPDATE: Damian Penny takes exception to Mark's suggestions: "I'm shocked and appalled.... How dare we pit a poor, defenceless truck up against a morbidly obese blob like that? It'll be destroyed!" Good point. We'll make sure to use one that's still under warranty.]