"So, what do you think?", my husband asked.
I told him I hadn't checked all the details, but from what I heard from Dion's speech, it sounded pretty good.
He disagreed. He is convinced that Liberals' 'Green Shift' plan is going to cost us a fortune, especially when the gas bill comes, and he didn't believe me when I told him that almost all of these tax credits were going to be refundable. Which is important for us, given that we are both mostly self-employed and so our taxable income is as close to nothing as we can make it.
So today I checked the details.
First, I did that little "Calculate Your Benefit" thing, and based on our income last year we'd be saving about $1900/year, or $160/month. Looking more closely at the specific tax credits and benefits, it looks pretty accurate, and would certainly be more if we have a good year.
Then I tried to figure out what this all would cost us - and just a suggestion, but the Libs might want to consider putting a "Carbon Cost Calculator" on there as well.
First the gas bill. We live in an old, rickety, poorly-insulated little house, so we go through somewhat more than the 3,000-3,500 ft.cu./year mentioned in the handbook, but even accounting for that we'd only be spending an extra $6.60/month in year 1, and $26.50/month in year 4. But hey, if we actually got off our asses and put plastic film on all the windows in the winter like we keep talking about but never do, we'd save a bundle.
Oh, look - that's exactly the kind of thing this plan is designed to encourage people to do. Fancy that!
On top of that, the handbook acknowledges that most people will incur added costs related to increased transportation, electricity, food and other price increases passed on by business and industry. They estimate these added costs to amount to about $60/year/household in year 1, up to $240/yr in year 4.
Even assuming they are grossly low-balling it, I can't see how it would exceed the money we would save and/or get back in tax credits.
So, yeah. Looks good, for us anyway. I even played with the calculator to figure out the tax savings for my parents, my sister-in-law, etc, and it all looks pretty straightforward: the tax savings exceed the predicted costs.
Still, I don't want to be schmuck. So I wandered over to the Conservative Party website to check out their numbers. Surely they've had their math wizards all over this thing for the past day and a half, happily dissecting the Liberals' hopelessly flawed calculations and exposing the real costs to Canadians.
Meh. Not so much.
Aside from some broad claims about everybody and everything getting taxed with this plan, there was no reference to the offset tax credits other than to dismiss them as "a trick".
No evidence. No specifics about what they think the real costs will be, or why they dispute the claims that the carbon tax will be 'revenue neutral'. No numbers. No debate. Just mockery.
Oh, and they're calling Dion an "elitist". How very Republican of them.