Would your family be better off with an extra $2,000 in your bank account this year?
As Canada continues to face its highest inflation rates in over 30 years, not a single Ontarian would answer no.
If Ontario Premier Doug Ford had kept his promises from the election platform he ran on four years ago, that extra $2,000 would be a reality for millions of families across the province.
There are two campaign promises Ford ought to finally deliver on in next month’s budget to improve the livelihood of taxpayers from Thunder Bay to Windsor and finally deliver the $2,000 of previously promised tax relief.
Four years ago, Ford promised to cut the second income tax bracket by 20 per cent. Analysis of Ford’s plan shows that, had he delivered, a two-income family could be paying nearly $1,700 less this tax season.
Four years ago, Ford also promised to cut the gas excise tax by 5.7 cents per litre. The typical Ontario family filling up a minivan and a sedan once a week stands to save nearly $400 a year through lower fuel prices.
While Ford ran on a solid pro-taxpayer platform during the 2018 provincial election, he has spent his time since running away from it.
Democracy functions best when politicians lay out a vision before voters, receive a mandate and deliver on their election commitments. Ford’s platform was full of tax cuts, but not a single broad-based tax relief measure has been enacted under Ford’s watch.
Tax relief is more important than ever as Ontarians confront inflation rates that haven’t been this high since Seinfeld first debuted on television.
Wage growth in Canada is running at roughly 2.7 per cent, while inflation is sitting at 5.7 per cent. With inflation levels more than double the rate of wage growth, the only way for Ontario families to keep up with the cost of living is through tax relief.
If Ford wants to help struggling Ontarians, he should deliver on the thousands of dollars of tax relief he committed to just four short years ago.
No one can argue that Ontario doesn’t have the fiscal room to implement Ford’s 2018 agenda. Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office reported last month that government revenue is up $14 billion compared to before the pandemic. Government is bringing in more money this year than ever before.
There are also countless ways to further improve the province’s bottom line through reducing spending on things like corporate welfare, which the Ford government hands out like candy.
The Ford government would do well to remember that government revenue doesn’t just fall from the sky – it comes out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers. Billions of dollars in new government revenue means billions of dollars out of taxpayers’ wallets.
With the provincial government taking in an historic amount of money, now is the ideal time to start returning some of that money back to taxpayers.
Analysis from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation suggests that Ford’s two long-awaited tax cuts would leave roughly $3.3 billion in taxpayers’ pockets instead of government coffers. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the massive government revenue growth seen over the past two years. With Queen’s Park enjoying such a gigantic tax windfall, the Ford government has no excuse for continuing to dither.
The typical Canadian family is expected to face nearly $1,000 in increased grocery costs this year, to say nothing of gas, rent, heat and hydro. Ontarians cannot afford more delays from Queen’s Park.
When Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy delivers his budget speech next month, it should be centered upon tax relief. That’s what Ontarians voted for four years ago, and it’s also what is desperately needed.