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Patrick Brown Promises to cut taxes, hydro rates in Ontario PC campaign Claims

26 Nov 17
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Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives would decrease income taxes and ship the state back into deficit if they form the government after next June’s election, and would take over and enlarge Toronto’s subway system, pioneer Patrick Brown claimed as he unveiled his electoral routine.

The 78-page program, dubbed the People’s Guarantee, comprises 147 guarantees and is Mr. Brown’s strategy to conquer Premier Kathleen Wynne next summer and finish 14 years of Liberal government in Ontario. If it wins, the opposition party would maintain the majority of Ms. Wynne’s marquee initiatives intact, such as tuition rebates and expanded drug coverage, but would finish the state’s climate change program and dismantle the cap-and-trade system.

Unveiled on Saturday in a speech to 1,500 delegates at a party conference near Toronto’s primary airport, the election strategy comprises fives promises that Mr. Brown stated he would send by 2022 or not run for another term. Those promises include a tax reduction for Ontarians earning less than $86,000, an enlarged refund for child-care expenses, a 12 percent decrease in residential hydro bills, more money for mental health, and a more powerful accountability act.

“Beneath Kathleen Wynne, you work hard, you pay more and you get less. Under our stage, you may spend less and get more,” Mr. Brown said in a half-hour address. In a statement published with his address, Mr. Brown said there’s “nothing wrong with Ontario that can not be fixed by a change in government.”

The platform would see Ontario return to a deficit in 2018 with a $2.8-billion shortfall, before posting surpluses in future years. The document includes no mention of doubt over the future of the North American free-trade arrangement and worries of economic disruption if discussions to renegotiate the trade deal were to fall. The most recent financial projections from Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa promised balanced budgets through to 2020.

In accordance with the Tories, part of the deficit during their first year in government would come from a costly transition from the state’s existing cap-and-trade program to another carbon tax that Mr. Brown would present.

The party’s platform would provide some tax relief for Ontarians. A cut to the lowest income tax bracket, representing an income of around $42,960, would see the present tax rate of 5.05 percent fall to about 4.5 percent. The following tax bracket, which the party says represents the “middle course” earning $42,960 to $85,923, would see a cut from the current rate of 9.15 percent to 7.1 percent. Once phased in by 2022, the tax cuts will cost the provincial treasury about $3.2-billion annually.

The party promised no significant spending cuts over its first four years in power, but stated that it would find $2.8-billion in annual savings by 2022.

A proposal to take over Toronto’s subway system was among the biggest promises in the record. While Toronto’s transit service could be left with buses and streetcar routes, the provincial government would take over the city’s subway infrastructure and spend $5-billion expanding subway lines. Toronto would continue to amass subway fares, according to the celebration.

Pointing to stagnating incomes and the higher cost of living in Ontario over the last ten years, Mr. Brown promised he would leave Ontarians with more cash in their pockets if his party wins. “Job number one for a PC government is to make life more affordable for you,” he told the audience at a campaign-style event. This weekend’s convention is Mr. Brown’s final key party gathering ahead of the next election.

The program would also introduce a new tax credit for child care, offering a family with a child under the age of six earning less than $35,000 annually a refund of around $6,750. The party also promised to invest $1.9-billion within the next ten years on mental healthcare.

Mr. Brown, 39, is a lawyer by training and had served in the national parliament as an MP from Barrie for almost a decade. He’s been the provincial party’s chief since September, 2015, and has yet to lead the Tories to a general election.

Steven Del Duca, the state’s Transportation Minister, was in the conference on Saturday as a Liberal agent and ignored Mr. Brown’s plan as a “say anything” platform. “We all know that if it seems too good to be true, then it is not accurate,” he said in a statement. “Anytime a Conservative says they could lower taxes without making cuts they end up cutting services.”

There was no mention in the stage about the impending legalization of cannabis. The program’s section on property claims no changes to the state’s tax on overseas property buyers or rent controls, although party officials said those two programs could be changed if the state’s property market went into sharp decline.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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