We’ve been told that taxes are a bad and terrible thing, but what if increasing taxes helped us deal more effectively with some of the social problems we experience? Would you be willing to pay more in taxes if it meant that we could provide more services to seniors, protect our forests and endangered species, reduce class sizes, invest in affordable housing, or treat mental health issues?
In 2012, the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) published a study called Beyond the 1%: What British Columbians Think About Taxes, Inequality and Public Services, in which they asked a group of over 1000 British Columbians if they would be willing to pay more taxes for better social programs. Turns out the majority were willing to pay more if the tax increase was linked to a specific outcome.
What was even more interesting was that younger British Columbians (those aged 18-29 and 30-44) were much more likely to be willing to pay higher income taxes than those aged 45-59 and 60 or older. In fact, age was the only demographic factor that significantly affected whether someone was willing to pay more taxes to support specific policy outcomes. That means that things like income level, which one would assume would matter, were not significant in determining whether someone was willing to pay.
So, what does that say about Generation Y and our Generation X peers? Perhaps that we’re frustrated at the social problems that we see every day that aren’t being fixed and we want to help but can’t gain traction by ourselves. By paying more taxes, perhaps we think we have a chance at fixing the problem and truly changing things for the better. This statistic gives me hope that we’ll find some way to tackle the important issues that our generation faces.
What would you be willing to pay more taxes for? For me, it would be better mental health services.