Two sides to the “income sharing” debate

I read in the news a few weeks ago that the Conservative government has made mention that they would like to introduce “income sharing” for families with a stay-at-home parent. I was thrilled when I read this, but the article was clearly written by someone who did not share my enthusiasm.  They noted this as another way the government would “help the rich” and take away from the middle class and poor.

Currently, if a family with two incomes earns $65,000 (meaning both parents made about $32,500) a year, they are in a lower tax bracket then those of a single earning family of $65,000. Meaning, the single income family pays considerably more taxes and therefore takes home less money than the two income family. The Conservative government wants to make this more fair by offering “income sharing” which means the single income family can essentially “split” their income with their spouse and both pay taxes on half as much money. Every “family” who earns the same, will pay the same amount of taxes. Seems fair to me!

The article implied that families with a parent that stays home must be well off and therefore should not have any tax breaks. While this may be true in some cases, it is most certainly not the case in all, including my family.  When I chose to stay home with my children until they were in school full time, there were huge financial sacrifices that needed to be made.   We live in a small starter home and will continue to until I go back to work, we own one vehicle which we bought used.  We don’t buy things on credit or “buy now, pay later”.  If we want something new, we save for it, or go without.  I babysit two additional children in my home in order to help out with grocery money.  I don’t get vacation, let alone paid vacation. I don’t get stat holidays. I never get overtime, or even paid lunch breaks.  If we decided to have another child, I wouldn’t receive unemployment.

We live small in order for me to stay home with my kids. I do know how fortunate I am that we are able to do this, there are so many families who would love to have one parent stay home, but who could simply not afford it. I am fortunate, but I’m not spoiled or rich.  I think there is this notion that stay-at-home moms are these pampered, spoiled women whose husbands make a lot of money.  I cannot tell you the number of times I have been asked “so what do you do?” just to be scoffed at or told how “lucky” I am that my husband has a good job.  I want to say to those people who judge me that our family probably earns much less then their family.  I want to say that we make up some of the difference by going without a second vehicle and saving on insurance and gas.  I want to tell them I babysit children who trash my home and exhaust me so I can have extra money for groceries each week.  I want to tell them how we don’t even pay for basic cable let alone the expensive speciality channels. I want to tell them that I never get my hair or nails done and when I do get new clothes, I shop at Walmart.  I want to tell them how much I save on daycare expenses, how I live in a 900 square foot home and how I still have pink carpeting in my basement.  I want them to understand that while I am lucky, I have to sacrifice a lot in order to stay home.

If the Conservative government does get re elected I hope that they introduce “income sharing” for single income families. The extra tax savings for us could mean a family vacation, an emergency savings fund or even new carpet for the basement! At the very least it would make the taxes we pay fair and recognize and validate all those moms out there who give up so much in order to stay home. There are always two sides to every debate. Vote Blue!