NICKELLING AND DIMING US TO DEBT

In Editorial /

Carla Wintersgill

Editor-in-Chief

Whenever journalists start messing around with numbers, things start to get scary. After all, we were those kids in high school who flunked out of math class with the, “When will I ever need to use this again?” attitude. I would like to state for the record that I didn’t fail math. I got 68 per cent in Math 11. I didn’t bother with Math 12.

That being said, one of the important parts of our job as journalists is making relevant information entertaining and comprehensible. I may not be able to do trigonometry, but I do think I can break things down for the average reader.

Which brings me back to numbers. Readers may notice there are a lot of them on the cover. Let me explain the logic behind them: The Ontario government recently unveiled the provincial budget that outlined its plan for tax harmonization. This means that instead of paying GST and PST separately, consumers will now simply be paying a flat tax rate of 13 per cent on all goods and services.

On the surface, tax harmonization seems like a good idea, until you take into account that items that were once PST exempt are facing an 8 per cent tax hike. (Instead of only paying 5 per cent GST, there is the new harmonized 13 per cent tax to pay.)

So, we crunched the numbers. Starting in 2010, you’re going to start paying 11 cents more for your large cup of Tim’s coffee. And while paying 11 cents more for a cup of coffee might not seem like a big deal at the time, how much you’re actually going to pay starts to add up. Imagine if you’re buying five cups of coffee a week for a whole year — that adds an extra $28.60 a year to your spending.

The same goes for gas, haircuts, gym memberships, magazines and newspapers, cell phone, tv and internet bills and taxi fares.

So prepare your wallets, you’re about to get a little bit broker. For more stories about how the budget will affect you, turn to page 14.

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You might notice that on the page opposite this one, there is what appears to be an almost, but not-quite issue of Now magazine. That’s right, it’s April Fools Day and the parody issue is back.

This year, the parody team, led by fun editor Leif Parker along with features editor Laura Blenkinsop and biz and tech editor Alex Hamlyn, takes on weekly Toronto hipster rag, Now Magazine. Look for the nudie ads in the back.

Whether or not we would even do a parody issue this year was the subject of much discussion among the masthead. Sometimes it can be nothing more than insider baseball, made up entirely of jokes that are only funny to journalists. But sometimes it can also be just plain hilarious. Which is why the parody is back this year, albeit in a scaled-down format.

Last year’s parody boasted the headline, ‘Bay Street suicides climb as world stock markets crumble.’ For a joke, it sure was a prescient headline. What kind of insights will we come up with this year? See for yourself.

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