THUNDER BAY – “The Harmonized Sales Tax is now in effect – and that means a stronger economy with more competitive businesses that create more jobs for hard-working Ontario families,” according the the McGuinty Liberals.
One of the immediate impacts of the new HST can be seen at gas stations in Thunder Bay. Overnight the price of gasoline spiked from $1.039 per litre to $113.9 per litre. Across the city last night there were line-ups as consumers sought to save money one last time before the new tax hit the pumps.
In the only media statement issued by the Ontario Government today, it states, “In more than 140 countries and four other provinces, a value-added sales tax like the HST is already a fact of life. To remain competitive and create new jobs, this change in our antiquated 50 year old tax system is not only necessary but the right thing to do. As a result of the HST and other business tax cuts, the tax rate on business investments has been cut in half making Ontario one of the most competitive jurisdictions in the world. A study by tax expert Jack Mintz estimated that Ontario’s tax plan will help deliver increased annual incomes of up to 8.8 per cent and create almost 600,000 net new jobs over the next decade”.
The NDP disagree with the Liberals over the HST. Party Leader Andrea Horwath states, “As we celebrate our country’s birthday, Dalton McGuinty’s present to families is an unfair tax that will cost them an average of $800 every year,” said Horwath. “Rather than making life more affordable for families struggling to get out of a painful recession, starting today the McGuinty Liberals are making it more expensive.”
In a report released by the NDP in May, the HST will cost the average family $800 a year. Even with the government’s so-called “help”, the report shows that families will be $470 behind every year.
“Dalton McGuinty’s multi-billion tax shift from corporations onto Ontarians starts today, and making life more expensive for Ontarians isn’t fair or progressive – it’s just cruel,” said Horwath.
The Ontario Government’s claim that 600,000 jobs will be created have been questioned by both opposition parties. The McGuinty Government has not provided any details of what kinds of jobs, or when those jobs will be created. The actual figure in the Mintz Report is that 570,000 jobs could be created by the implementation of the HST.
Ontario’s manufacturing sector has struggled over the past six years, however lately there has been some more positive news. Earlier in June, Statistics Canada reported, “Ontario’s employment was up 18,000 in May, all in full-time work. The increase in May brings employment gains in that province to 127,000 (+1.9%) since July 2009, a rate of growth similar to the national average (+1.8%). In May, the unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 8.9% as more people entered the labour market”.