GOLDBERG: Doug Ford’s resolutions for the new year | Daily News Byte


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As Ontario Premier Doug Ford prepares to make his signature cherry cheesecake for the holidays, it’s time for him to make some public policy resolutions for the new year.

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To ring in 2023, Ford must promise to cut the sales tax, keep the budget balanced and end corporate welfare.

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As inflation challenges Ontario families, the Ford government has a dirty little secret: it’s cashing in on inflation.

Sales taxes are charged as a percentage of the total price of a product or service. When prices rise, government revenue also rises. Last year alone, revenue brought in by the Ontario government through sales taxes increased by a staggering $4 billion.

As Ontarians struggle to pay their grocery bills, fill their gas tanks and pay their home heating bills, inflation relief is more important than ever.


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Due to inflation, Ontario workers essentially lost a month’s wages compared to last year.

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With families facing massive budget crunches, the last thing the government should be doing is grabbing more dough.

Cutting the HST by one percentage point would leave about $3.8 billion in taxpayers’ wallets, which would be paid for entirely by giving additional sales tax revenue back to the people, where it belong.

The second resolution Ford had to make was to keep the budget balanced.

When the final budget numbers for the last fiscal year came in earlier this fall, the government announced the province had balanced its books for the first time in more than a decade. To Ford’s credit, he balanced the books and ran a $2.1 billion surplus.

That’s a good thing.

But the Ford government has already announced it plans to return the province to the red next year and stay there for the foreseeable future. Ontario already spends more than $1 billion per month in interest on the debt. If we don’t have to pay that bill, the province can afford to build 10 new hospitals next year.

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It is morally wrong to leave a fiscal fiasco awaiting the next generation.

Instead of returning Ontario to deficit territory, Ford should decide to find ways to reduce the province’s inflated budget.

A good place to start is to begin to bring the wages of government employees in line with Ontarians working in comparable jobs in the private sector. Doing so will promote fairness and save the province billions.

Speaking of savings, Ford should have a third resolution for the new year: ending corporate welfare.

Ontarians do not want to see their tax dollars go to Queen’s Park only to be given to profitable corporations. Earlier this year, the Ford government gave half a billion dollars to Stellantis, a Fortune 500 company, to repurpose its plants in Windsor and Brampton. Stellantis is a very large corporation with consistent revenue. It does not require taxpayer assistance.

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If Ford is truly concerned about wanting to attract investment and create jobs in Ontario, which is his supposed motivation behind the corporate welfare handouts, he should cut corporate taxes. It makes more sense to lower taxes to attract businesses of all shapes and sizes instead of giving hundreds of millions of dollars to a profitable company.

Unfortunately, Ford has a long track record of handing out taxpayer cash to profitable corporations. He did the same thing at Ford Motor Company a few years ago.

For the new year, Ford must resolve to end his bad habit of indulging in corporate welfare.

If Ford adopts these three key resolutions – reducing the sales tax, keeping the books balanced and ending company handouts – he will put his government, and all of Ontario, on a better path.

Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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