Scrap the HST on electricity and home heating!

By MPP Toby Barrett

Last week, I hosted a news conference in the Cayuga Village Green to announce a commitment to provide immediate relief for families, by removing the HST from home hydro and heating bills, and removing the ‘debt retirement charge’ on home hydro bills.

The commitment encompasses three specific action steps:

First, the elimination of the HST on hydro bills. As I continue to hear at the doors, the HST has made life unaffordable for many families, particularly when hydro rates were already soaring. It’s time to remove the provincial portion of the HST from these bills.

Second, the removal of the HST from the cost of home heating. We all understand that heating homes in Canada isn’t a luxury, and increasing the cost with a tax increase is unfair.

Third, the abolition of the so-called “Debt Retirement Charge” from hydro bills. The full amount of the debt this charge was supposed to retire was collected last year.

Together, these three steps would provide a typical Ontario family with $275 in immediate relief on energy bills.

This is a first step to fight the unfair McGuinty tax burden and give much-needed relief to Ontario families and seniors.

Across Ontario families and seniors are paying more and working harder, only to fall further behind. Taxes, fees and hydro bills are skyrocketing, and families are worse off, not better.
The most unfair part of the HST tax hike is how it hits at all of life’s essentials – the things you can’t do without – like hydro, natural gas, propane and home heating oil.

And that’s on top of already sky rocketing hydro bills thanks to unaffordable energy experiments.

As we’ve all experienced, under Dalton McGuinty, electricity rates have increased eight times since 2003 by a total of 84 percent, or a whopping 150 percent for families with activated smart meters. This despite the fact McGuinty promised Ontario families that his expensive energy experiments and Green Energy Act would only raise rates by 1 percent. He now admits bills will rise by an additional 46 percent by 2015.

Recently the Ontario Energy Board acknowledged Dalton McGuinty’s energy experiments were behind the latest May 1 hydro increase because new forms of green power are costing more to generate.

Of course not much of this comes as a surprise given the track-record of an administration hardwired to raise taxes.

We remember the McGuinty promise in the 2003 election that he wouldn’t raise taxes, only to then hit Ontario families with the largest income tax hike in the history of Ontario history with his so-called health tax. And few will forget that McGuinty promised again in the 2007 election that he wouldn’t raise taxes, only to then hit Ontario families with the biggest sales tax hike in Ontario’s history with his HST. Then he brought in the eco tax on over 9,000 household items on the same day!

As McGuinty’s hits just keep on coming, people’s ability to pay for the items and services they rely on begins to stretch to the breaking point.

An HST cut to electricity and heating bills – as well as the elimination of the debt retirement charge – build on our previous proposals to cancel the unaffordable FIT programs and the secret Samsung deal.