The Liberals' Surplus Allocation Act will promise taxpayers a slice of the surplus along with their income-tax return, federal officials told The Canadian Press.
"Canadians would be getting a dividend on the performance of the economy," said one official.
The legislation, to be tabled Friday, sets out a broader spending plan for the unplanned surpluses that Ottawa frequently racks up.
One-third of all unexpected surpluses will go to debt relief, one-third to program spending and one-third to taxpayers.
The government has drastically underestimated its surpluses since balancing the budget in 1997-98. In one of the most dramatic examples - 2002-03 - Ottawa estimated a $3-billion surplus that ended up at $9.1 billion. Under the proposed formula, the extra $6.1 billion would have been divided three ways, with $2 billion going to taxpayers.
Watch for surpluses to be grossly underestimated in election years while being properly or overestimated in all the other years.
That way, the government of the day--whether it be Liberal or Conservative--can claim to be vigorously fighting the national debt and saving social programs three years out of every four, and rewarding the taxpayer for its supposed frugality every election year.
Are we foolish enough to be bribed with our own money?
Of course we are, every time the tax refund cheque comes in.