CEO David H Bradley tells us why the carbon tax is a poor idea with the same problems as all other fuel excise taxes. They have nothing to do with policy, and everything to do with killing jobs and creating revenue for the government.
The risk is that these taxes, like so many before, simply become a cash grab to fund all manner of other programs under the nebulous banner of "going green."
The last thing the trucking industry needs are higher fuel costs and more fuel taxes. At 15 per cent to 30 per cent, fuel is the second largest component of operating costs, after labour. The current provincial and federal diesel fuel taxes are antiquated and regressive. Canadian fuel taxes are among the highest on the continent. With fuel prices and taxes where they are today -- even with fuel surcharges -- the trucking industry doesn't need to pay even more for diesel to realize that increased fuel efficiency is a good thing. We don't need a new tax to get that message.
Most tax policy practitioners also agree that taxes on business inputs, whether they are imposed on commercial fuel or equipment, are counterproductive and job killers. The trucking industry, particularly in jurisdictions with harmonized sales taxes -- already pays too high a share of tax on its business inputs compared to other industries.
Keep in mind the four-cents-a-litre excise tax on diesel fuel was introduced by the Mulroney government in the mid-1980s purportedly to slay the chronic budget deficit. We now live in an era of massive federal fiscal surpluses, but the tax still exists even though it serves no policy purpose.