Licen­se pla­te stic­kers in Onta­rio are desti­ned for the ash heap of histo­ry, thanks to a Ford government’s commitment

By Jay Goldberg
Inte­rim Onta­rio Director
Cana­dian Taxpay­ers Federation

Licen­se pla­te stic­kers in Onta­rio are desti­ned for the ash heap of histo­ry, thanks to the Ford government’s com­mit­ment to repe­al tho­se pesky annu­al fees.

Fami­lies are facing ram­pant infla­tion and soaring living costs. Pre­mier Doug Ford’s anno­un­ce­ment will save the typi­cal two-car fami­ly $240 a year.

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It’s a good first step, and now the Ford govern­ment needs to deli­ver much more sub­stan­tial relief.

Ford made two cor­ner­sto­ne tax cut pro­mi­ses during the 2018 pro­vin­cial elec­tion that could save Onta­rio fami­lies tho­usands of dol­lars a year.

Ford pro­mi­sed to cut inco­me taxes for the mid­dle class. That could save a two-inco­me Onta­rio fami­ly abo­ut $1,800 a year.

He also pro­mi­sed to cut the gas exci­se tax. That could save two-car fami­lies abo­ut $400 a year.

Savings from tho­se two tax cuts alo­ne would amo­unt to over eight times the savings Onta­rio dri­vers will rece­ive from the eli­mi­na­tion of licen­se pla­te stic­ker fees.

Get­ting rid of stic­ker fees is a win for taxpay­ers, but this win just isn’t big enough.

Gro­ce­ry bills for the typi­cal fami­ly are expec­ted to rise by $966 this year over last year. The ave­ra­ge pri­ce of a one-bedro­om apart­ment in Toron­to is up over 11 per cent. Gas is up more than 40 cents a litre. The pri­ce for a used car is up 17 per cent. For many strug­gling fami­lies, $240 back in the­ir pockets isn’t going to cut it. Much more exten­si­ve relief is needed.

As Onta­rio enters cam­pa­ign mode ahe­ad of June’s elec­tion, Ford keeps tel­ling Onta­rians that they can spend the­ir own money much bet­ter than the govern­ment can. Ford’s rhe­to­ric sug­ge­sts he knows that more money belongs back in taxpay­ers’ wallets.

“The worst pla­ce to give your money is the govern­ment,” said Ford just weeks ago. “Rather than taxing people non-stop, why don’t we put money back into the­ir pockets to make it more affor­da­ble to live?”

Ford sho­uld take his own advice.

Eve­ry Onta­rio fami­ly could use an extra $2,000 in the bank. That’s how much Ford’s pro­mi­ses are worth – if he keeps them.

With infla­tion now at the highest level recor­ded in over 30 years, taxpay­ers need hun­dreds of dol­lars more in the­ir pockets just to get by. A huge por­tion of Ford’s pro­mi­sed tax relief would sim­ply allow taxpay­ers to keep up with inflation.

For a man who con­stan­tly talks abo­ut the need to leave more money in peoples’ pockets, it’s time for Ford to walk the walk.

Befo­re the government’s anno­un­ce­ment that it plans to eli­mi­na­te licen­se pla­te stic­ker fees, Ford failed to deli­ver a sin­gle tax cut for indi­vi­du­al taxpayers.

Ford can­not expect voters to for­get abo­ut tho­usands of dol­lars in tax cut pro­mi­ses in exchan­ge for saving a couple of hun­dred bucks on licen­se pla­te stickers.

Ford’s last elec­tion plat­form was a gre­at pro-taxpay­er blu­eprint in 2018, and it rema­ins so in 2022. His pro­po­sals are needed even more urgen­tly now than they were four years ago in the wake of sky-high 4.8 per cent inflation.

Ford sho­uld dust off the plat­form he like­ly hid in his sto­ra­ge clo­set and use it as a blu­eprint for this year’s bud­get and beyond.

It’s time for the Ford govern­ment to hand more money back to the people and beco­me the taxpay­er cham­pion it has long pled­ged to be.

Jay Gold­berg is the Onta­rio Direc­tor for the Cana­dian Taxpay­ers Federation.

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