School supplies for kids or $7.62 for Kevin? Clean Energy Benefit redirection - Part 7

Another electricity bill, another waste of government spending. This time I've been given a $7.62 rebate even though Ontario is supposedly fighting a deficit. A small rebate off my hydro bill makes no difference to my household budget. I'd rather the Liberal government send it somewhere else.

See part 1 of this series for an explanation of the Clean Energy Benefit and why it's a terrible policy.

This hydro bill I'm sending my $7.62 (and a bit more) to Caring and Sharing's school supplies fundraiser because they can put it to good use ensuring basic fairness at schools by giving every kid the supplies they need to succeed.

Check your hydro bill for how much your 10% rebate was. It's probably in the neighbourhood of $5 to $15 depending on how much electricity you consume. If you're lucky to have some room in your household budget for discretionary spending (movies? itunes? booze?) I'd encourage you to join me in sending your 10% to Caring and Sharing too. They have an online donation page.

Why did I pick Caring and Sharing's program this time? Well my Liberal MPP (and eventual election opponent) Yasir Naqvi was recently in the news to help raise awareness about the problem. I think it's great he wants to help - but he, Premier Wynne and the Liberal caucus have to be asked the question: why are you giving 10% rebates to the wealthiest homes? Why waste that money when it could go to the lower income homes that have trouble equiping their kids with school supplies?

What if we cut the 10% rebate to nothing for the "top half" of Ontarians and doubled the rebate to 20% for the bottom 50% of households, by income?

I spend my rebate on coffee. I'll bet there's a single parent out there that spends their rebate on school supplies for one child and would spend their "doubled" rebate on their other child.

If the Ontario government (and the NDP and PCs) where truly progressive they wouldn't need me to explain this every other month. The CEB in its current form is regressive.

Everyone gets a 10% rebate but in absolute dollar values things are not fair. If you're lucky to live in a bigger house that costs more to heat and cool you benefit the most. Those homes use more electricity (per-person) and so get the highest rebates. If you're struggling to afford rent you probably don't even have air-conditioning in the first place, your electricity use is lower, and may only be a few dollars every other month in rebates.

In other words, the CEB shifts Ontario's wealth to the rich from the poor. Anti Robin Hood. Regressive. It is the opposite of a progressive system.

Yet the Liberals, NDP and Progressive Conservatives all support it, to the tune of $1 billion/year of more borrowing.

Thanks kids - enjoy paying off the debt accumulated on my watch. I tried. Now, time for a coffee in a nice summer afternoon.

Beneficiary Amount Date
School Supplies $7.62 Aug, 2013
Elizabeth Fry Society $8.75 Jun, 2013
The Men's Project $11.61 Apr, 2013
Ottawa Food Bank $10.80 Feb, 2013
Daybreak Housing $7.31 Dec, 2012
Christie Lake Kids $6.96 Oct, 2012
Causeway Work Centre $11.49 Aug, 2012
Total: $64.64