The ways governments spend, raise revenue, and manage their assets and liabilities have huge effects on living standards now and in the future. Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government programs is a continuing task. Ensuring that the structure and rates of taxation do not discourage work, saving and investment in Canada is vital. Maintaining clear and comprehensive balance sheets, and measures to prevent unsustainable levels of funded debt and other liabilities, are an increasingly pressing challenge.
The C.D. Howe Institute’s Fiscal and Tax Competitiveness Program builds on the Institute’s extensive work on fiscal issues, including that of the Tax Competitiveness Program, which was inaugurated in 2005. Past achievements include building the case for deficit reduction in the 1980s and early 1990s, for consolidation of the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans in the late 1990s, a series of shadow federal budgets and fiscal accountability reports in that began in the 2000s, and work on marginal effective tax rates on personal incomes and business investment, which has laid the foundation for such key changes as sales tax reform, elimination of capital taxes, and corporate income tax rate reductions.
Yet deteriorating fiscal positions at all levels of government create a new set of challenges. Governments must restrain spending and will likely turn to new revenue sources. Accurate recording and astute management of assets and liabilities is more important than ever. Chaired by Michael Horgan, the C.D. Howe Institute’s Fiscal and Tax Competitiveness Council oversees research and development of policy recommendations to foster effective and efficient spending and tax programs, and ensures that Canadian fiscal policy supports economic dynamism and sustainable income growth.