WEYBURN - The Rural Municipalities of Saskatchewan have put out a plea to both the federal and provincial levels of government to help out with the ever-increasing price of fuel.
In a very real sense, the plea is only the tip of the iceberg, because inflation is impacting everyone, and the spiralling costs are rippling outwards to hurt every wallet, and every budget of every municipality, school division, health region, companies both large and small, and every resident who has to pay all of the costs.
It is an old adage that there is only one taxpayer. Joe Citizen is the one to whom the burden falls, because unlike businesses or governments, he or she is unable to pass on the increase costs of living to anyone else.
All tax bills, from the local municipality, the provincial and federal levels, all end up on the doorstep of the ordinary citizen, and the simple fact is, people only have finite resources.
There has to be a breaking point, because no person, business or municipality has the ability to just keep paying more and more and more – something has to give somewhere.
Unfortunately, the most vulnerable of our society are the first to suffer, those who are on low incomes or social assistance, and are reliant on social housing and welfare to keep food on the table.
When the grocery bills are high, rent is due, medications are needed and utility bills come in, and gas is needed in the vehicle in order to go to work, what will the breaking point be?
There are accounts, for example, of seniors who cannot afford their rent and medication and food, and some give up either getting their medicine (which could be fatal) or buying enough groceries to feed them for a week.
Food banks across the country, including the Salvation Army’s food bank here in Weyburn, are all seeing high rates of usage, and increasing numbers of people who are needing help in order to eat.
There are very few areas where help can be given from a governmental level, but the level of taxes is certainly one within their control. Understandably, some governments are reluctant to get very involved in intervening in economic matters that might impact businesses and industry, but one area they could consider a temporary measure of relief is in fuel taxes.
In particular, the federal carbon tax could be curtailed, which has compounded the hurt, especially in provinces like Saskatchewan. The government has been unrelenting in this punitive tax, even in the midst of COVID, when they broke all faith and promises not to raise taxes during the pandemic. It’s time to turn things around and consider giving some relief, as costs keep going up.