Dreschel: Horwath - Make the rich pay for LRT

Item date: 
March 10, 2014
Item context: 

The NDP's Andrea Horwath continues with her populist infrastructure funding message.  Unfortunately, like other political leaders, she doesn't realize that building transit, on its own, will not solve congestion -- only adding mobility pricing to the mix will do that.  It appears that the NDP would rather GTHA drivers spend time and money idling in their cars which will further degrade air quality and cause climate change.


NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Hamilton's proposed LRT system should be funded by hiking corporate taxes and tapping high-income earners.

Horwath argues that raising corporate taxes, cracking down on corporate tax loopholes and maintaining higher tax rates on folks earning more than $500,000 a year will go a long way in drumming up the necessary dollars.

"Where I would start is there. I wouldn't start by assuming we have to go to the same beleaguered taxpayer, go to the same pocket that's already been picked dry by the Liberals."

As MPP for Hamilton Centre, she's solidly behind Hamilton's proposed $800-million light rail system, which dovetails with her party's support for the overall GTHA's Big Move regional transit vision.

But Horwath's mantra is no new taxes, tolls or fees that hit middle-class families.

That sets the stage for a spring election if the minority Liberal government sticks to its guns and includes some of those so-called new revenue tools in its upcoming budget to pay for the Big Move...

... "Why would we make it worse for everyday families who are not able to pay the bills, make it even harder for them to pay the bills, make it even harder for them to maintain their lifestyle?"

The New Democrats estimate that raising the corporate income rate to 14 per cent from its current 11.5 per cent will generate $1.8 billion by 2015...

...But besides raising new money from the corporate sector, Horwath argues it's also important not to let existing revenue streams seep away.

She says allowing tax break restrictions on corporate perks such as meals and company vehicles to be phased out will cost the province about $1.3 billion annually. The phase-out is supposed to begin in 2015. The NDP want to make the restrictions permanent.

Horwath also wants to make the higher tax rate on incomes over $500,000 permanent. At the NDP's insistence, the rate jumped in 2012 from 11.16 per cent to 13.5 per cent. It's supposed to retreat when the province's $11.7-billion deficit is eliminated.

"Why not just say we're not going to blow that hole in our revenue stream and we're going to be using those funds to fund our Big Move or our transit vision for the province?"...