Ontario’s wheel of tax again keeps on turning

By MPP Toby Barrett

WC: 646 – 96 to cut

“In the last election I told Ontarians I wouldn’t raise their taxes, and I broke that promise. I did raise their taxes.” (Dalton McGuinty, 2007)

As we head into a month of concern, issues and input across the province of Ontario, I remain concerned that rising costs will only continue if we repeat the missteps of the past.

Many recall the massive tax increases after votes were counted despite Dalton McGuinty promises not to raise taxes.

Promises included the famous TV ad in which Mr. McGuinty told one and all that “I won’t cut your taxes, but I won’t raise your taxes either”. While the former statement has held true, the latter was broken within months of his election.

Following the 2003 election, McGuinty imposed numerous tax increases, including the health tax, which costs families up to $1,800 per year.

This despite the fact that Mr. McGuinty made a public show of his signature to the Taxpayer Protection Pledge: “I, Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, promise if my party is elected as the next government, that I will not raise taxes or implement new taxes without the explicit consent of Ontario voters, and not run deficits. I promise to abide by the Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act.” (September 11, 2003)

Four years later history repeated itself.

After stating to the CBC that, “We won’t have to increase taxes on a go-forward basis,” Dalton McGuinty imposed numerous tax increases including:
The HST tax-grab.
A hidden hydro tax.
The sneaky eco-tax grab which drives up the cost of over 9,000 everyday items used by Ontario families.

There is no doubt that when it comes to no-tax increase promises and the inevitable turn-around, Dalton McGuinty has played this game before.

He introduced the largest income tax hike in Ontario history with his so-called “health tax”.

When it comes to increasing your taxes, Dalton McGuinty can’t help himself. It’s just what he does. And families know: if given the chance, the Tax Man will do it again.

Going forward I remain concerned that the people of Ontario may be in store for “déjà vu all over again”.

While we again hear about pledges to hold the line on taxes, the fact is that Mr. McGuinty’s fiscal plan is a recipe for a third major tax increase after the 2011 election.

His Ministers have even hinted at a massive new carbon tax on Ontario families:

“It is time for all of us to start to get comfortable with two words: carbon tax.” (Liberal Research and Innovation Minister, Glen Murray, Toronto Star, May 27 2007).

“…certainly a carbon tax is something to look at” (Liberal Environment Minister, John Gerretsen, May 31, 2010).

The Premier himself got involved in the carbon rush with the following headline:

“Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty emerged yesterday as the unlikely voice of support for federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s carbon tax plan.” (Toronto Sun, June 21, 2008)

Carbon or other taxes the fact is that given the track record, it’s concerning when we hear pledges to avoid tax increases; especially when you consider McGuinty’s reply whether tax increases were in the plan, indicating: “I’m going to promise to keep doing what we have been doing.”

That certainly gives one pause for thought.

Those I speak to at the door tell me that instead of following the path of more and increased taxes, what Ontario taxpayers need is an elimination of the HST and debt retirement charge from their hydro bills and home heating costs, reduction on family income taxes, and the eradication of Mr. McGuinty’s sneaky eco-tax once and for all.

Ontario families are tired of the fun and games being played with their tax dollars – they’re asking to stop the ride, because they want to get off. It’s time to stop the Wheel of Tax once and for all.