Here in Ontario, the McGuinty government is presently at war with teachers. I’m not going to get into the fray to betray where I stand on this issue. It’s too complex to do easily and, besides, my wife and child would likely not appreciate the exposition. It, along with the current to-do with those who are part of the industry of horse racing who are under siege from the same government that wants to eliminate slots from race-tracks, is very simple political mathematics.
The government spent a term shoring up dramatically diminished funding for education, which included compensation for teachers. The program was unsustainable. (On a side-note, the whole full-day kindergarten that is putting added burden on the early education system is, I hope everyone realizes, politically-expedient day care by another name.) So the good times are over. For the horsemen, the arithmetic is equally straight-forward. To be blunt: the government is addicted to the revenue from gambling and no longer wants to share with the horsemen under the terms of the deal that has slots at racetracks. It seems the slots are the big earners while the paramutuel and buffet dining is considerably smaller.
Raise taxes or anger small sectors of the voting public (read: teachers and horsemen/farmers)? Naturally, however, as many others have pointed out, both of these tactics are wickedly short-sighted. Expedient and short-sighted. Typical. So, I’d like to suggest an entirely different tax grab to offset some of this challenge. The best part is that my tax grab actually would benefit our province. Here it is:
Force drivers to undergo first an examination and, not passing that, remedial training with every 5-year license renewal cycle. Oh, people will complain. To hell with them. Driving is a privilege, not a right. And if you can’t drive, or drive like a maniac with no regard for others or the rules, then you shouldn’t be on the road. Of course, everyone will get back on the road eventually. But, the $100 exam fee every five years is a $20/year per driver tax. Subsequent mandatory driver’s ed programs could be straight government issue or partnered. Either way, the province’s coffers gets a positive jolt. It could even have a (modest) positive effect on the safety of our highways and roadways. So just think about the potential for decreased health care imposition from motor vehicle-related hospital and emergency service (never mind policing) costs.
It’s a modest proposal. Think about it.