Health and wealth [income & taxation]

TheGlobeandMail.com – news/opinions/letters-to-the-editor – Re: Be Happy, Tax The Rich – editorial, April 12
Published Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012

Health and wealth

The Globe believes hospitals must show restraint and due diligence at the top (Be Happy, Tax The Rich – editorial, April 12). We agree. That’s why Ontario’s hospitals recently proposed overhauling executive compensation.

Hospitals would voluntarily adopt an evidence-based framework to guide boards’ decisions about CEO base compensation; implement a pay-for-performance program that would carve up to 30 per cent, or $47-million, out of existing executive pay packets over three years and force executives to re-earn it by achieving clearly-articulated provincial and organizational goals; voluntarily extend the existing freeze on executive compensation to five years – a year more than the public-sector freeze in the Ontario budget – for a $23-million savings.

Ontario’s hospitals utilize almost $18-billion annually in provincial tax dollars and employ 200,000 health professionals. An arbitrary policy that would damage the leadership of these important public institutions is in nobody’s interest.

Mark Rochon, interim president and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association

………

Your editorial’s vigorous defence of high income earners – you argue against a surtax on people who earn more than $500,000 a year – ignores growing income inequality among Canadians and unfair taxation’s contribution to this divide.

Ontario’s highest personal income tax bracket (46 per cent) has not been this low since the Great Depression. This rate starts at $132,000, so it’s a flat tax for the rich. Billionaires pay the same rate as doctors.

Conversely, the budget freezes social assistance rates – despite these payments’ buying 60 per cent less than in 1995.

Canada is becoming more unequal faster than almost any other country. As doctors we know that growing economic inequality causes social and health problems that put more pressure on public services. It’s time for high-earning Canadians to pay our fair share. Tax us. Canada is worth it.

Rosana Pellizzari, Michael Rachlis, Tanya Zakrison, Doctors for Fair Taxation

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