Yukon Party and Liberal MLAs voted down an increase to the minimum wage. Members of the Yukon Party continue to make a carbon tax sound like a great financial hardship. Yes, some businesses will have higher costs, in the first case, and Yukoners will have to pay more for fossil fuels in the second case, although that tax could be administered in a way that makes it revenue neutral.
But here’s the thing. Money has greater implications than just a plus or minus figure in a bank statement. No matter how, or for what reason, money is spent, you are not only purchasing something, you are making an investment. You have choices every time you take out your wallet. Will you invest in a small local business or a big corporation? Will you invest in growers of healthy food or manufacturers of junk food? Will you invest in lotteries or Little League?
Increasing the minimum wage is a positive way of investing in our community. Those businesses that would have to pay more to their employees would most likely see increased sales as the working poor found themselves with greater spending power.
Paying a carbon tax is an investment in the life-support system of the planet. If we have to pay more for fossil fuels, we’ll think more seriously about renewables.
And I, for one, wouldn’t even want a rebate if I saw that my tax dollars were being spent to build renewable energy infrastructure — more wind generators, more solar panels etc. That is the most worthwhile investment I can imagine.
Sometimes economic decisions are not just about pluses and minuses. They are about doing the right thing for our communities and for the earth.