Saturday, February 28th-2.8°C
25355
23613

Wynne says no hike in gas tax, HST or income tax on middle class to fund transit

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took steps Thursday to avoid a spring election by promising not to raise taxes on the middle class to fund public transit, but the opposition parties warned the Liberals could not be trusted to keep their word.

"I just want to be clear, we're taking those potential revenue tools off the table: increase in HST, increase in gas tax, increases in personal income tax for middle-income families," Wynne said at a campaign-style stop at a home in Toronto.

Wynne has vowed to find the "revenue tools" to raise the billions of dollars needed each year to upgrade and expand public transit in the heavily congested Toronto-to-Hamilton corridor, and an expert panel recommended several tax hikes as options.

The NDP had warned they would not support any moves to increase taxes on the middle class, but would not say Thursday if Wynne's promise was enough to get them to vote for the Liberal's upcoming budget and avoid a spring election.

"We're skeptical of the fact that this is another Liberal promise and we've seen many of their promises made and then broken," said New Democrat Jagmeet Singh. "We look at it with a grain of salt."

Wynne dismissed suggestions she was trying to secure NDP support for the budget for the third year in a row by saying she won't hike taxes on the middle class.

"This isn't about one party's perspective," she said. "I'm not talking to the NDP. I'm talking to families and individuals who are working very hard to make sure that they have the kind of life that they deserve."

The Progressive Conservatives, who have been warning voters that Wynne is planning to hike the gas tax 10 cents a litre to fund transit, said the Liberals promise one thing as an election approaches and then do the opposite afterwards.

"We've heard from the Liberal government before, no new taxes, and we ended up with the health tax and we ended up with the HST," said PC finance critic Vic Fedeli. "This is all about electioneering and trying to get her budget passed by buying off the support of the NDP."

It was the Tories "making mischief" about the gas tax and the HST that Wynne said prompted her to make the announcement about what the government would not do.

"The focus on HST and gas tax has been a decision made by the Opposition, a very targeted decision over the last couple of weeks," she said.

"So I'm saying this today just because the escalation of the focus on these very particular revenue tools has, I think, distorted the discussion, and so I just wanted to be clear that those are not things that we're going to do."

Wynne had earlier eliminated the idea of raising property taxes to fund transit, and suggested Thursday she would not increase corporate taxes either, but left the door open to new road tolls. The Liberals have already said they would proceed with letting drivers without passengers pay a toll to use High Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

"The thing about tolling is that it's always very important that there be a choice for people," said Wynne. "So if there's an alternative to taking a road that has a toll on it, then I think that meets the fairness test."

Ontario cannot wait to make investments in new transit and transportation infrastructure, "but whatever we do has to be fair," said Wynne.

"It's essential to the prosperity of local economies across the province, but I'm not going to ask the people in North Bay to pay for transit in the GTA."

The government will announce how it intends to raise the billions of dollars needed for public transit in the spring budget, and would create a new fund for infrastructure projects so people can see where and how the money is spent, added Wynne.

"There are new revenue tools, (there's) leveraging debt, there's the dedication of existing revenue tools, all of those things are part of the mix," she said.

The minority government needs the support of at least one of the opposition parties to get its budget passed or Ontario will be plunged into a general election campaign.

Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

24909


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15234.34-6.82
S&P CDNX706.73+5.80
DJIA18132.70-81.72
Nasdaq4963.528-24.362
S&P 5002104.50-6.24
CDN Dollar0.7996+0.0004
Gold1203.00+6.10
Oil52.14+1.53
Lumber297.20+1.20
Natural Gas2.895-0.007

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.12+0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.55-0.03
Cantex0.035-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.190.00
Metalex Ventures0.035-0.005
Russel Metals25.38+0.08
Copper Mountain Mining1.30+0.04
Colorado Resources0.15+0.015
ReliaBrand Inc0.008-0.0007
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.015
Mission Ready Services0.235+0.025

 





FEATURED Property
21949562162 Alexander Place
6 bedrooms 6 baths
$799,999
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Creating your retirement vision

A vision means different things to different people. To the head of a large corporation, it’s the ability to chart a course that will deliver success (think Steve Jobs and Apple), to a shaman, i...


It's OK to say 'I'm sorry'

Photo: ContributedStand-up comedians and sitcoms have been making fun of Canadians for being polite as long as I can remember. Being known for our niceness is certainly not a bad thing and I wish more...


Are you asking the right questions?

Have you ever had this happen to you? You are in the middle of your second or third good discussion with a prospect and everything seems to be going great. The prospect seems engaged and happy to work...

_








Member of BC Press Council


24843