Who gave how much to whom at what cost to taxpayers

Now that we have freed the 2011 election donations data from the deadening grasp of Elections Nova Scotia, there’s no end to the interesting things one can do with it. For example:

In 2011, 4130 Nova Scotians…

Donated $1,057,213.29…

Of which 90.18% (amounts up to $750 per person) could be used as a Nova Scotia provincial tax credit.

Economists call this a tax expenditure. If donors did not receive a credit against  taxes they owed, the province would have raised $953,451 more revenue.

Personally, I think that’s a small price to pay to get corporate, union, and large private donations out of the business of financing election campaigns.

At the federal level, the Harper Conservatives are taking the opposite approach, ending public election financing, a change that will increase the role wealthy individuals, corporations, and unions will play in future Canadian elections.