What could you do with $11,000? Thats the 10-year cost per Canadian taxpayer of corporate subsidies according to a paper titled Corporate Welfare: A $144 Billion Addiction, authored by Mike Milke and published by the Fraser Institute last fall. It nicely covers how the three levels of government have distributed about $144 billion of our tax dollars as subsidies to businesses during the 10 years ended 2004. (Converted to loonies and stacked up, the pile would reach two-thirds of the way to the moon). In 2004 alone, the total was $19 billion.
The subsidies are defined as transfers of tax dollars to business for reasons other than goods and services and do not include tax reductions, deductions credits, or exemptions for individual businesses or business as a sector.
Over this period, federal subsidies were $49.7 billion, provincial amounts totaled $75.1 billion and local governments threw in $18.1 billion. The report calculates that the $6.6 billion in subsidies by the federal government alone in 2004 were equivalent to a 30.5% reduction in corporate income tax rate. Who are the recipients of this money? The top 10, with an authorized total of $4.3 billion for the period April 1, 1993 to March 31, 2006 are shown in the table below. You can see that half the companies were subsidiaries of foreign parents, and many are involved in aerospace. The entire report with a list of the top 50 recipients is available for download at: Fraser Institue