Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the provincial government has bamboozled people into thinking the Harmonized Sales Tax is going to make a difference in terms of providing services. Instead it’s going to cost the average family $800 per year, she said.
Using Statistics Canada’s Social Policy Simulation Database and Model, the NDP conducted a study to see how the HST – to be implemented on July 1 – will affect the people of Ontario.
Horwath was in Thunder Bay Thursday and expressed her concerns about the cost of the tax to struggling communities.
"(The study) came up with some figures that show very clearly that the Harmonized Sales Tax is going to hit families hard," she said, noting that even with the Liberal government’s talk about personal tax cuts and changes to the tax system, families will still be paying $470 a year through HST.
"What does that mean for families in Thunder Bay? It means that money will come out of their pockets," Horwath said. "It means that things like hydro costs, gas in your car and heating costs are all going to be much more expensive for folks. These are not luxuries. These are things people don’t have a choice of spending their dollars on."
Not only will the tax be felt by families and individuals but small businesses are worried about the impending tax, Horwath said. Small businesses know they have to pass that extra eight per cent onto their customers and two things will happen.
"Demand is going to go down for their services and they’re going to have to end up laying off staff," she said. The NDP leader also said the Ontario Transitional Tax Credit is the province bribing taxpayers with their own money.
"The thing that people know very well and I don’t think they’re fooled by this – the $1,000 broken into three payments for families is just that – a one-time deal. The HST is forever," she said.
The Harmonized Sales Tax is not going to increase the government’s coffers either, she said.
"The government is going to put money out of your pocket into their revenue and then out of the revenue stream into corporate tax reductions and other tax giveaways for the corporate sector," Horwath said.
"That money is not going to stay with the government to provide the extra services to provide for the rising health care costs or anything at all of that nature."
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