HST and Seniors Support
How the McGuinty government is helping seniors in Ontario
Over this Canada Day we are going to celebrate and reflect on how blessed we are to call Canada and Ontario home. On July 1st our comprehensive tax package, including the Harmonized Sales Tax, will come into effect.
We brought in our comprehensive tax package and the HST to help preserve those things that have come to be expected in Ontario. Things like a good job and an economy that supports our hospitals, schools and the other vital public services that make us proud to be Canadians.
Together we have come through a global recession. It wasn’t created here, but we’ve felt its effects. Now, emerging from this recession, we face a more competitive world. We can no longer rely on a low dollar, cheap energy and single dominant trading partner for economic prosperity. We need to become more competitive to get more people back to work and to protect the jobs we now have.
Experts agree the best way to do that is to update our outdated tax system. That includes a move to a single, harmonized sales tax, plus tax cuts for both people and business.
The transition to the HST will eliminate hidden costs for business, allowing companies to invest in growth and create new jobs. We’re also giving Ontarians tax cuts and transition cheques, putting money back in your pocket to help with the change.
According to tax expert Jack Mintz from the University of Calgary, our tax package will result in $47 billion in new investment and almost 600,000 new jobs. We need these jobs for stronger families, stronger communities and for a stronger Ontario.
It is true that consumers will see increased prices on some goods – but not even close to what’s being suggested by our critics – they want you to believe that the sky is falling and EVERYTHING will see an 8% increase. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, 83% of things that families buy everyday will see no additional tax come July 1st. Let me repeat that – 83% of everything you buy will be the same price on June 30th as on July 2nd.
This includes things like: restaurant meals, movie tickets, groceries, home cable and charges, clothing, car seats, furniture, home and auto insurance, municipal transit, your morning coffee and newspaper, auto parts and repairs, appliances, electronics, cell phone charges, municipal water, music lessons, child care services, books, diapers, home maintenance equipment, mortgage interest costs, computers and software, toys, household cleaning products and feminine hygiene products just to name a few. A more comprehensive list can be found at http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/en/taxchange/pdf/taxable.pdf
Looking at Ontario this Canada Day versus last it is clear that we have come a long way. Last Canada Day we were facing a global economic collapse. This year we are facing strong signs of economic growth and recovery.
As this recovery takes place in Ontario and around the globe, our comprehensive tax package is the best way to ensure that the new 21st century jobs are created right here at home. Standing aside and letting Ontario fall behind was not an option. We chose to act.
Seniors on a Fixed Income
Canada Day is a time when look back at the past year and a time when we pay special respect to those who have helped build the strong country and province we have today.
Support for our seniors is a top priority for the McGuinty government. We need a strong economy to support the high-quality public services like hospitals that they worked so hard to build and increasingly rely upon.
Seniors need to know that their provincial government will take whatever action is needed to protect our cherished universal health care. That’s why we’ve introduced our comprehensive tax plan including the Harmonized Sales Tax.
Seniors can expect the following permanent income tax cuts starting next year – first, we’re dropping the personal income tax rate on the first 37,000 of taxable income giving Ontario the lowest rate on the first income tax bracket of any province.
Second, seniors who currently receive the $240 a year federal GST rebate would now receive an additional $260 a year, every year, from the province – tax free. As well the Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant is providing up to $250 a year in additional assistance in 2009 to help low- and middle-income seniors stay in their homes. Starting in 2010, the maximum grant will be doubled to $500 a year.
Over the next five years, these grants will provide approximately $1 billion in property tax relief to over 600,000 seniors.
And to help Ontario seniors transition to the HST, Ontario Sales Tax Transition Benefit cheques will be mailed out in three instalments – June 2010, December 2010 and July 2011. These cheques total $1000 for families (including senior couples) and $300 for individuals – completely tax-free.
Some of these changes are not easy. But they are needed.
The way I see it, we have a choice. We can refuse to modernize, resign ourselves to the idea that Ontario will be less competitive, and see services that people rely on – like universal health care – suffer because of it. Or we can embrace change and do what it takes to build a stronger Ontario. We chose to act.