Big-city dwellers are paying far more in taxes than they receive back in government services, but the skew exists mainly because people in urban areas make more money, concludes a new study of Canada's nine largest cities.
Taxpayers in Calgary and Toronto fared the worst, according to the paper. Based on averages between 1986 and 2002, Torontonians each paid $1,717 more in taxes every year than they received back in provincial and federal programs and services. For Calgarians, the deficit was $2,253 per capita on average every year. At the other end of the spectrum, Winnipeggers had a per capita surplus of $2,014.
Generally, big-city dwellers get far less return on their tax dollar than rural Canadians or small-towners because cities are populated by people who have less need for government services, Prof. Kneebone said. Between 1996 and 2002, the nine biggest cities contained 51 per cent of the population, but created 65 per cent of new jobs.
I don't mind this because I don't think it's necessarily true that if someone pays X amount in taxes, they necessarily deserve X returned in services. If I never need an emergency room, should I stop paying for it? Of course not.
Tax collected must be spent efficiently and effectively wherever it's needed - in the long run, programs such as public health care, public education, and social services benefit everyone.
There are, however, certain segments of the population who incorrectly believe that Toronto and big cities receive too much in tax benefits and are an unfair tax burden - this dispels this myth.