Tax relief is the best way to increase affordability
Affordability is the elephant in the room as Ontario’s June provincial election approaches, and it’s time for Ontario politicians to address it before they get trampled.
All three major political parties in Ontario plan to address affordability in their platforms. The Ford government has worked to eliminate user fees for taxpayers. Steven Del Duca’s Liberals promise thousands of dollars in rebates on electric cars. And Andrea Horwath’s NDP talks about billions of dollars to build more affordable housing.
Each party will try to put an affordability dog in the window just in time for the election. But the best way to help Ontarians is to leave more money in taxpayers’ pockets on payday.
In Ontario, inflation is rising to more than double the rate of wage growth. This means that any gains taxpayers make from wage increases at work are eaten away entirely by rising prices, and more.
Taxpayer spending power is shrinking at a rate not seen since Cheers was the most-watched show on television.
With soaring inflation, Ontarians are falling further and further behind. Experts have predicted that Ontario families will pay, on average, $1,000 more this year for groceries than last year. Gasoline prices are up more than 33% from just a year ago. The average rental rate for an apartment in Toronto has jumped 16% over the past 12 months. Three-bedroom units rent for around $2,700 per month.
Ontarians need help, and they need it urgently.
Four years ago, Ontario Premier Doug Ford ran on a platform of affordability and tax relief. His most important promise was to cut middle-class income taxes by up to $1,700 a year for a two-earner family.
Ford’s promise attempted to fix the problem at its source. Rather than offering vague promises to help address specific issues that might affect some families more than others, Ford has taken a comprehensive approach, offering a tax cut that could help millions of families across the country. Ontario.
The Ford government is now talking about putting more money in the pockets of Ontarians by eliminating some road tolls and waiving the province’s vignette fee. But the Ford government’s four-year income tax reduction pledge would far outweigh the government’s decision to reduce the number of fees taxpayers are forced to pay.
With the 2022 election campaign in Ontario set to begin in weeks, affordability should be a priority. But Ontario taxpayers don’t want to see election gimmicks that only help a small portion of taxpayers or empty promises that will never be delivered. Ontarians want to see a real plan to increase the size of paycheques, and the best way to do that is through general income tax relief.
Ontarians haven’t seen an income tax cut since former Premier Mike Harris introduced sweeping tax relief in the mid-1990s. When Harris cut income taxes, Ontario had the lowest tax rates in the country. Since then, provinces like British Columbia and Alberta have outstripped Ontario in tax competitiveness. Even the territories of Canada have lower income taxes.
It’s time to give Ontario back some leadership. To increase the size of Ontario paychecks and increase purchasing power, Ontario political parties should introduce a comprehensive plan for income tax relief. Ontario politicians should ditch the gimmicks and provide a clear path to bigger paychecks.
Jay Goldberg is the Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. © Troy Media