Tuesday, October 16, 2007

One for the junk heap

Based on the Sask Party's total platform leak, Brad Wall probably had no choice but to go public with his promise to eliminate the PST on used car sales. But I have to wonder if the party has thought through the unintended consequences of the move.

After all, it doesn't seem to be a matter of much dispute that newer cars tend to be less environmentally damaging than their older counterparts. And that trend only figures to continue as hybrids and other emission-friendly vehicles become more widely available - particularly since automakers themselves have agreed to work toward more emission reductions.

As a result, by setting up a tax structure which provides an effective tax break for used cars as opposed to new ones, Wall is in fact promising to provide an incentive for Saskatchewan residents to purchase less efficient vehicles. Which means that the costs of Wall's plan would go well beyond the (itself significant) opportunity cost of the money he'd pour into it - and that the contrast to the Calvert government's focus on the environment figures to offer yet another strong wedge issue for the NDP.

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