Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday May 17, 2022
Ontario NDP plan to run deficits for 6 years and cancel gas tax cut
Ontario’s New Democrats are pledging to run larger deficits than the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals if elected and would likely not balance the budget for six years, but the party is eyeing some cost savings from cancelling a gas tax cut.
That pledge is expected to save $600 million in the first year by reversing the Progressive Conservative government’s move to reduce the provincial portion of the gas tax by 5.7 cents a litre for six months starting July 1.
Catherine Fife, who has served as the NDP’s finance critic, presented the costing Sunday and acknowledged the high cost of living, including rising gas prices that have topped $2 a litre, but said the temporary cut from the Tories is just a “gimmick.”
“We are looking for a long-term, sustainable strategy to alleviate gas prices, but also to stabilize,” she said, pointing to the party’s promise to regulate gas prices.
“When I’m talking about these things at the door, people say, ‘Well, why isn’t the government addressing the core issue, instead of, you know, $12 a month or covering the cost of half of a gas tank?”‘
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said the promise means the NDP “is abandoning the middle class.”
The Liberals have not promised to cancel the planned cut and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath tied them and the Progressive Conservatives together in a tweet suggesting the money is better spent on public services.
“(Progressive Conservative Leader Doug) Ford wants to take $600M from hospitals and schools to line the pockets of his big gas buddies,” she wrote. “Now Del Duca wants in. I guess they’ve got buddies in common.”
New sources of revenue in the NDP costing released today include gaining $$1.9 billion by year three from raising the capital gains inclusion rate from 50 to 100 per cent on corporations, except for small businesses, and people with a net worth of over $3 million — with a primary residence exemption in place. (CBC)