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  • CCPA SK Annual General Meeting October 11, 2019
    Please join us for our Annual General Meeting in Saskatoon, 5:00pm, Thursday, October 24th at Station 20 West. (1120 20th St. West) Courtney Carlberg, author of Saskatchewan's Failing Report Card on Child Care, will discuss why Saskatchewan ranks the lowest for overall quality and rates of access to regulated child care in the country and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Corporate Mapping Project receives award for research excellence October 9, 2019
    The co-directors of the Corporate Mapping Project—CCPA-BC Director Shannon Daub and the University of Victoria’s William Carroll—are being celebrated in Victoria today as they accept a REACH Award for Excellence in Research. The REACH Awards recognize “research excellence” as demonstrated through scholarly contributions and societal impact. Since the inception of the Corporate Mapping Project, Shannon […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Unpacking the details of Manitoba Hydro September 9, 2019
    What would a long view of Manitoba Hydro all entail.  Read report here.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA submission to Treasury Board consultation on regulatory modernization September 6, 2019
    On June 29, 2019, the federal government launched a public consultation on initiatives intended to "modernize" the Canadian regulatory system. Interested Canadians were invited to provide input on four current initiatives: Targeted Regulatory Reviews (Round 2) Review of the Red Tape Reduction Act Exploring options to legislate changes to regulator mandates Suggestions for the next […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in November for the 2019 CCPA-BC Gala, featuring Nancy MacLean September 3, 2019
    Tickets are available for our 2019 Annual Gala Fundraiser, which will take place in Vancouver on November 21. This year’s featured speaker will be Nancy MacLean, an award-winning historian and author whose talk, The rise of the radical right: How libertarian intellectuals, billionaires and white supremacists shaped today’s politics, is very timely both in the US and here in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Ontario Budget: All Quiet on the Revenue Front

As others have noted, last week’s Ontario budget combined modest social investments in areas requested by the NDP with austerity for overall expenditures. Ontario program spending, already the lowest per capita of any province, will be subject to ongoing cuts relative to inflation.

This paradox on the expenditure side of the ledger reflects a vacuum on the revenue side. The budget’s summary of tax measures (Table 4.1) is essentially a blank slate, particularly if one excludes measures that simply parallel federal changes.

My pre-budget presentation at Queen’s Park emphasized several easy ways to collect modestly more revenue from the corporate sector. But even this low-hanging fruit was apparently beyond the budget’s reach.

It finally did remove the Employer Health Tax exemption from Ontario’s largest corporations, but then boosted the exemption for all other (non-governmental) employers, turning a modest revenue gain into a wash.

This year’s budget proposes a review of the Mining Tax, as I have advocated on this blog. However, the government made the same proposal in last year’s budget and did not follow through.

Strangely, the most significant potential revenue measure associated with the budget was completely absent from the budget. Ontario’s finance minister sent a letter dated May 1 (the day before the budget) asking the federal finance minister to extend the temporary restriction of certain provincial HST credits for large corporations.

It is fair enough not to include these revenues in the provincial budget’s fiscal framework unless and until federal approval is obtained. But it is striking that no budget document (including the speech) even mentioned the provincial government’s request to delay giving these tax credits to big business.

The amount of money at stake is also a moving target. Ontario’s 2009 budget estimated that restricting the credits would recoup $1.3 billion annually as soon as the HST came into effect. The 2010 budget reduced this near-term estimate to $1 billion, implying that it could grow to about $1.3 billion by 2018-19 (if the credits remained fully restricted through that fiscal year.)

Finance officials in last week’s lock-up suggested that extending the restrictions would ultimately recoup closer to half that much annual revenue. But the government has not disclosed how much these restrictions have actually recouped in any budget since the HST came into effect, let alone how much it expects to collect by extending them.

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