Julie Green on Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated
Committee Motion 126-18(3): Tabled Document 237-18(3): Independent Commission to Review Members' Benefits and Compensation 2018 Report on Members' Compensation and Benefits - Accountability for Non-Taxable Allowances, Defeated Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters
Mr. Chair, last year, the Government of Canada announced that non-taxable allowances paid to politicians would become taxable as of January 1st this year. Currently, all Members are paid an allowance of roughly $7,500 to cover miscellaneous expenses that are not reimbursable from their constituency budgets. MLAs are constantly called upon to provide financial assistance to constituents, attend public events that charge a fee, purchase raffle tickets, and participate in silent auctions, to name a few items. They are often called upon to buy meals or coffee for constituents or to travel within their constituencies, using their personal vehicles. The fact that these allowances are paid without the need for receipts allows Members to provide unique support services to constituents without breaching confidentiality. In order for these allowances to remain non-taxable, they must become reimbursable only by receipt. This defeats the intended purpose of the allowance.
One alternative to this recommendation is to "gross up" the value of the allowance to make it equivalent on an after-tax basis. This would, however, result in additional costs to the public. Mr. Chair, it is my view that, rather than reduce the flexibility that Members currently have or increase costs, the allowances should remain at their existing levels and be taxed. I will therefore not be supporting this motion. I should note that a second non-taxable allowance is provided to out-of-town Members to reimburse them for the costs of travel to and from work while in the capital as well as other miscellaneous costs associated with running a second residence. I understand that the Speaker is seeking confirmation from the Canada Revenue Agency that this allowance will remain non-taxable. Thank you, Mr. Chair.