Hang on to your wallet – more tax hikes coming

By MPP Toby Barrett

It was over 11 years ago that I reported into Shortt’s Garage, just up the road, for an expected ‘dressing down’ as our government had just lost the election. The consensus that day was a rueful, “hang on to your wallet”.

And in relatively short order, newly-minted Premier McGuinty brought in the largest income tax hike in the history of Ontario – the so-called Health Tax – even though he looked us squarely in the eye through our television screens and promised no new taxes.

In 2007, he did it again, he broke his promise, and brought in the largest consumption tax hike in the history of Ontario – the 13 per cent HST.

The past 11 years have been a blur of jacked-up taxes, new fees, stipends, tag-ons, license fee increases, and more recently – if you are in a conversation with Premier Wynne – revenue tools.

Since last spring’s election, three ‘revenue tools’ have been in the news – the aviation fuel tax, the proposed carbon tax and the proposed pension tax.

These new taxes will subtract a significant amount of money from you and your family. Having less money will not improve your life.

Across the board, tax increases take away the incentive to work, to save and to invest in our economy. Tax hikes for the hardest working, most productive members of our society hurt all of us.

The more any good or service is subject to a consumption tax, the less it will be produced or supplied. If workers know the more they work, the more their pay cheque will be taxed, it stands to reason they balk at doing that extra bit or volunteering for overtime. I learned this at age 18 working on the line at American Can.

At their core, members of this present provincial government believe they know better than the average Ontario resident on how to spend and invest their own money. Yet the Fraser Institute and even the province’s Auditor General are questioning them.

To soften the blow, government frames the argument – it comes up with a smiley-faced term like revenue tool for tax. It renames a gasoline tax, previously shouted down by people in Ontario, a carbon tax. A new pension tax on payroll is now called a retirement contribution.

At 2.7 cents per litre, Ontario already has one of the highest taxes on aviation fuel amongst neighbouring provinces and adjacent American states. As part of the budget, the aviation fuel tax will rise to 6.7 cents per liter by 2017. That was not presented during the election.

A carbon tax will raise the price of almost everything, not just gasoline and home heating fuel. Prices for all consumer goods will go up as production and transportation costs increase. Life will become much more expensive. That was not presented during the election.

Wynne’ pension tax will not only take another 1.9 per cent out of your pay cheque, but another 1.9 per cent out of your employer’s bottom line. A Meridian Credit Union report indicates 77 per cent of Ontario’s entrepreneurs feel the pension plan will be the largest business challenge they’ve ever faced. That’s of concern and was not presented during the election.

We see a pattern of Wynne introducing taxes not presented during the election – just like her predecessor. Hang on to your wallet.