The newly-elected PC government has put forward a fiscal plan that promises to reduce taxes on lower-income earners in Ontario.
The same plan also proposes lengthening the hours of operation at the Beer Store and LCBO and removing rent controls for some tenants, earning a mixture of reactions from critics and supporters alike.
Recently, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli released the 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.
The province say it’s projecting a 2018-19 deficit of $14.5 billion — $0.5 billion less than the $15 billion deficit the government previously announced.
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The government says it has already saved $3.2 billion in program expenses by reducing spending and not reducing front-line services, citing its controversial cap-and-trade cancellation and other initiatives.
“The magnitude of our fiscal challenge is real. It will require difficult decisions as we work to get Ontario’s finances back on track,” said Minister Fedeli. “This government believes balancing the budget and reducing Ontario’s debt burden is not only a fiscal imperative, it is a moral one. The previous government spent well beyond its means, creating a structural deficit that is unsustainable. Doing nothing is not an option — we need to spend smarter and reinvent government.”
Changes to the LCBO and Beer Store come as no surprise, as providing greater access to libations has been an important part of Premier Doug Ford’s platform.
The province, which came under fire for cancelling the basic income pilot program, announced that it would take some tax burden off of lower-income residents.
Should the legislation pass, the province says the vast majority of low-income workers would pay no Ontario Personal Income Tax at all. It would provide low-income and minimum wage workers up to $850 in Ontario Personal Income Tax relief and couples up to $1,700.
The province says this will benefit 1.1 million people.
The government also reiterated its plan to freeze minimum wage at $14 an hour and repeal much of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, saying that doing so will protect businesses and, by extension, employment in the province.
While many are applauding the government’s proposed legislation, others say that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in January (something the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act mandated under the previous government) would benefit lower-income employees more than the tax cut.
SCAM ALERT: A single worker *might* get $850 in tax cuts but loses $1,899 in income from $15 min wage. Deal is even WORSE for 2 low-income workers in a household, where each only gets $625 in tax cuts ($1,250 combined) but LOSE $1,899 in income. COMBINED LOSS = $3,798 #ONPoli https://t.co/rBQMXWiSwF
— $15 & Fairness! (@fairwagesnow) November 15, 2018
Would you prefer a tax cut over a minimum wage hike?