Friday’s release of the Ontario government’s new fiscal forecast must not be used as an excuse for the Premier to break his election promises that he will not make any cuts to public services or make job cuts, says CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn.
“There is no question that the previous Liberal government tried to cook the books in their favour, but we also know Premier Ford played fast and loose with the financial numbers at the municipal level to create a phony fiscal crisis in a failed attempt to justify substantial service cuts,” says Hahn. “What we have in this province is a revenue problem. Fixing the issues we have in long-term care, in our schools, hospitals and other public services, is going to require more money, not less – that’s just a fact. And that means it’s time for large corporations to start paying their fair share in taxes again.”
Hahn pointed to a critical report released earlier this year, co-authored by Corporate Knights and the Toronto Star, that compared personal tax rates to corporate tax rates. According to the extensive 20-page report, individuals and corporations used to pay an equal share of taxes to fund the services and programs our communities need to thrive. Following decades of cuts to corporate taxes, individuals now pay 3.5 time more than corporations. At the same time corporate profits have soared while most individuals struggle to make ends meet.
“It is no wonder that we are running a deficit when large corporations have been getting away without paying their fair share for decades,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer for CUPE Ontario. “The people of Ontario are struggling. The new fiscal forecast cannot be used to make our lives harder. We all rely on our health care, our schools and our social services, and they must not be cut. Protecting and caring for seniors in long-term care should never be in question. The question should be, how do we pay for it?”
Despite assertions by many Conservative governments that lower corporate tax rates lead to more jobs and greater local investment, decades of evidence show this hasn’t actually occurred. Corporate investment has remained flat despite tax cuts, and even a report from the Federal Finance Department under Stephen Harper, found corporate tax cuts were not effective in creating job growth compared to investments in programs for low-income households and public infrastructure.
“Our physical and social infrastructure is falling apart around us and that doesn’t change with today’s report,” said Hahn. “We need Ontario to thrive again. And that means Ford must keep his promises to the people of Ontario and ensure he makes no cuts to our services and no cuts to jobs.”