Taxpayers need a separate legislative assembly

An edited version of this letter to the editor appeared in the Montreal Gazette on 2005-5-10 under the heading “Taxpayers need their own senate”.

Your editorial “Can taxes ever be cut?” (May 8) correctly points out that the majority of voters pay no income tax, effectively disenfranchising those middle-income “working stiffs” who pay the bulk of the income tax collected both federally and provincially.

I have a suggestion: instead of a single elected legislative assembly, we could have two: one would be essentially unchanged from our present system, in which each citizen gets one vote to elect representatives; however, the second house would be elected by voters whose votes are proportional to the amount of tax they pay to that level of government. Thus, citizens who pay little tax would have correspondingly little representation, and those who pay a lot of tax, whether on income or consumption, would have a lot of say. This second assembly would be charged with determining how to spend the taxes collected, including how much to pay themselves as well as the first assembly’s members. The first assembly would continue to legislate as now, but would have the burden of convincing the second assembly to cough up the money to pay for any spending programs they dream up.

Not only would such a system give a real voice to taxpayers, but it would be an incentive to everyone to pay their fair share of taxes.

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