When Ontario Premier Doug Ford was running for office, he promised to deliver tax relief for Ontario families and businesses.
“We have a very simple theory,” said Ford during the 2018 provincial election campaign. “Put money back into the taxpayers’ pocket instead of the government’s pocket, because we believe that the taxpayers are a lot smarter at spending their money than any government.”
If that’s how Ford really feels, he has a strange way of showing it.
Taxpayers were promised that the second income tax bracket would be reduced by 20 per cent.
Three years later, an income tax cut is nowhere in sight.
Ford also pledged to deliver relief for drivers at the pumps.
While Ford did repeal the previous government’s cap-and-trade carbon tax scheme, which lowered gas prices by 4.3 cents per litre, the Progressive Conservative government has yet to reduce the gas excise tax by 5.7 cents per litre, as promised.
For months, Ford has told taxpayers a gas tax cut is coming. But, according to the premier, Ontarians will have to wait up to another four months to get it.
With near-record-high prices at the pumps, Ontarians need relief now. It’s time for Ford to end his political posturing and finally deliver relief for hardworking families.
During the 2018 election campaign, Ford also promised to cut corporate taxes.
Reducing the corporate tax rate from 11.5 to 10.5 per cent would “enable businesses to create good paying jobs and attract businesses back to Ontario,” said Ford in 2018.
Ontario needs to attract businesses now more than ever. Nearly two years into the pandemic, Ontario has yet to fully recover its lost private-sector jobs. Government jobs, on the other hand, are up to the tune of tens of thousands.
If Ford truly believes in cutting business taxes to help spur economic growth and job creation, he should do it.
The income, gas, and corporate tax cuts were the three central pillars of the Progressive Conservative plan for tax relief in 2018. In terms of delivering on those priorities, Ford is zero for three.
A little more than six months from now, Ford will be asking Ontario voters to hand him the keys to Queen’s Park for another four years.
Ford has crisscrossed the province in recent months claiming “promises made, promises kept” as he makes billions of dollars in pre-election spending announcements.
But Ford seems to keep his promises only when it comes to spending tax dollars.
He has failed time and again to reduce the tax burden for hardworking Ontarians. While Ford keeps telling taxpayers that the government is the “worst place you can hand your money over” to, he’s spending taxpayer dollars at a record pace.
The government’s fall economic update showed that spending is going up in literally every sector of government.
Three years into his four-year term, Ford is proving himself to be a free-spending premier of historic proportions.
He’s saying yes to spending and no to tax cuts.
Since the 2018 election, Ontario’s provincial debt has exploded by over $30 billion. That includes more than $5 billion of new debt before the pandemic ever hit Ontario’s shores.
Ford promised to fight for taxpayers, but the province already spends more than $1 billion per month paying interest on the provincial debt. He’s actually taking money out of the wallets of future generations.
Ontarians elected Ford three years ago to cut their taxes. It’s time for Ford to do the job he was sent to Queen’s Park to do.
Jay Goldberg is the Interim Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Jay is a Troy Media Thought Leader. For interview requests, click here.
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