A backlash is brewing over Ontario's move to a new harmonized sales tax and the Liberals are clearly spooked. The combined sales tax doesn't come into effect until next year, but already is proving to be such a bust with Ontarians that Premier Dalton McGuinty is giving ministers new marching orders to go out and aggressively sell it, the Star has learned.
McGuinty is forcing his cabinet to go on a communications blitz to promote the move that will see Ontario blend its 8 per cent provincial sales tax with the 5 per cent federal goods and services tax.
As of July 1, 2010, Ontarians will pay a blended tax of 13 per cent on hundreds of items that had previously been subject to only the 5 per cent GST. That move will boost the price of items such as gasoline, heating fuel, fast food, newspapers, magazines, taxi fares, dry cleaning and new homes costing more than $400,000, among other things. Fallout was evident last week as MPPs returned to Queen's Park following the Easter break.
Gee, I didn't see this one coming. Here is the thing – you want to sweeten the hand reaching ever deeper into my pocket – cut the provincial sales tax by 3%. A straight ten percent across the board is marginally acceptable but to add an 8% increase to a whole range of customer services and items is simply unacceptable. Think of it as the ATFAT principle in action – a turn for a turn.