A $190 mil­lion tax grab

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - Steven An­der­son, Dalkeith

The Editor,

On­tario’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Com­mis­sioner Dianne Saxe stated the fol­low­ing re­gard­ing the idea of adding an ad­di­tional tax (com­monly called the “road tax”) on farm/in­dus­trial diesel fuel:

“We in On­tario, ac­cord­ing to the pro­vin­cial bud­get, sub­si­dize diesel con­sump­tion by $190 mil­lion a year. That’s not pro­vid­ing bet­ter out­comes, it’s not pro­vid­ing in­come sup­port. It’s not tar­geted. Fos­sil-fuel sub­si­dies do not re­duce in­equal­ity, they in­crease in­equal­ity. Be­cause most of the money goes to the bet­teroff.”

There are so many things wrong with that state­ment that I don’t know where to be­gin.

First of all, the On­tario govern­ment say­ing that the omis­sion of a road tax from in­dus­trial diesel is a sub­sidy is like Al Capone say­ing he was sub­si­diz­ing the small re­tail­ers from which he did not de­mand pro­tec­tion money.

The ab­sence of a tax is not a sub­sidy, es­pe­cially when that par­tic­u­lar item has al­ready been taxed at sev­eral lev­els in the form of ex­trac­tion roy­al­ties, fed­eral ex­cise tax, and HST. The “road tax” sim­ply does not ap­ply to diesel gen­er­a­tors and in­dus­trial/farm equip­ment be­cause th­ese ve­hi­cles do not use the road ex­cept when mov­ing small dis­tances from one work sight to an­other.

Se­condly, Saxe stat­ing that not ap­ply­ing the tax does not pro­vide bet­ter out­comes is false.

Lower pro­duc­tion costs of food, min­er­als, and for­est prod­ucts ben­e­fit all con­sumers in the form of lower prices, more jobs, less wel­fare and un­em­ploy­ment, and more taxes paid by prof­itable busi­nesses and their em­ploy­ees.

Lastly, do we re­ally be­lieve that more and more and more taxes are go­ing to re­duce in­come in­equal­ity when the pro­vin­cial Lib­er­als have al­ready demon­strated that the money would sim­ply be used to fund vote­buy­ing in the form of re­lo­cated gas plants, se­cret pay­outs to pub­lic sec­tor unions, and lu­cra­tive con­tracts for Lib­eral party in­sid­ers?

Make no doubt about it, this govern­ment is ad­dicted to spend­ing money, and like a crack ad­dict look­ing for their next fix, they will stop at noth­ing to get their hands on more, and more, and more. This pro­posal is a $190 mil­lion tax grab, one that would take money away from busi­nesses mak­ing them less com­pet­i­tive with their neigh­bour­ing ju­ris­dic­tions and one that will kill jobs in ru­ral and north­ern On­tario and fun­nel the money into Queen’s Park.

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