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COCA fears tax hike imminent in Ontario

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December 2, 2014 by STAFF REPORT

The Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) is concerned that the fall economic statement recently delivered by Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa means the province plans to increase taxes.

“Government revenues are projected to be $509 million lower than budgeted. And though program spending has been contained at just 1.2 per cent growth that’s still growth” said Ian Cunningham, COCA’s president. “Minister Sousa suggested that if revenues continue to come in lower than budgeted new revenue tools will be considered. Revenue tools means taxes.”

According to COCA, Sousa also said Ontario has the lowest per capita spending rate among all provinces and that the province’s unemployment rate at 6.5 per cent is at the lowest level since 2008.

However, he cautioned that economic growth has been slower than forecast only a few months ago and that government revenues are projected to be $509 million lower than budgeted at year-end.

To grow revenues, Sousa issued a plea to the federal government to share a greater portion of the revenues it collects from Ontario taxpayers with Ontario, and he challenged the feds to match the Ontario government’s investments in the Ring of Fire and municipal transit.

“COCA is concerned that tax increases will only serve to reduce the province’s competitiveness,” said Don Gosen, COCA’s chairman. “Greater attention must be directed to cost controls if the deficit is to be beaten down by 2017-18.”

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