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March 2005
Vol. 6, no. 3

Perspectives on Labour and Income

Spenders and savers
Raj K. Chawla and Ted Wannell

The national savings rate has been oscillating around historic lows for several years, prompting concerns about the resilience of a macro-level economy increasingly reliant on debt-financed consumer spending. Many are also troubled by the balance sheets of households, where ever-expanding debt has rapidly outpaced earnings growth. The resulting record-high, debt-to-income ratios leave households more vulnerable to interruptions in income. This article examines changes in saving and spending patterns over 20 years, and differences in the characteristics and spending patterns of saving versus spending households.

Property taxes relative to income

Boris Palameta and Ian Macredie

Local government revenues are increasingly perceived as inadequate to fund the program responsibilities of municipalities. Property taxes (residential and non-residential) are by far the most important revenue source, accounting for 35% in 2003 (up from 30% in 1988). But, residential property taxes are commonly viewed as regressive in relation to income. This study uses the 2001 Census of Population to quantify the regressiveness of residential property taxes in Canadian municipalities, and to examine whether regressive taxes are generally attributable to lower-income seniors living in high-priced homes.

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