Tim Hudak promises magical tax-free subways
It turns out that years of policy debates about how to fund transit expansion in the GTA with new taxes and fees have all been pointless, because Tim Hudak and the provincial Tories have it all figured out: we’ll just build all the public transit we want and make no sacrifices whatsoever.
The latest in a series of white papers being released by the Ontario PC party in anticipation of the next provincial election says essentially that. It suggests that recent proposals to raise billions of public-transit dollars each year with new taxes and fees are misguided, and that the province can fund badly needed infrastructure improvements—like the construction of a downtown relief subway line—using existing funding in combination with money from the sale of surplus land and provincial buildings.
“We believe that transit expansion must be funded not with some kind of sin tax on driving,” the white paper says, “but by re-examining the priorities within government’s existing budget.” The money would be put in a special trust fund, to prevent it from being absorbed into general revenue.
The Tories are even asking for help from an unexpected quarter: some of the very pension funds Hudak has derided as being “gold-plated.” “We should raise additional funds for transportation infrastructure by encouraging Ontario and Canadian pension funds to invest in government-owned businesses,” the paper says. It’s not clear how the pension funds would earn returns on that investment. If public transit were a money-making business, the TTC would be funneling its capital budget into something a little flashier than some bendy buses.
The proposal seems a little too convenient, but our interest is definitely piqued. At the very least, the thing could stand to be fleshed out—not that it necessarily will be. Making impossible transit promises and then blaming others when they turn out to be unachievable is a tried-and-true path to election in Toronto. Just ask Exhibit A.
15 thoughts on “Tim Hudak promises magical tax-free subways”
Toronto was building a Subway on Eglinton Avenue West, when the Mike Harris-led PCs, with Timmy Hudak there as a rookie – crying the loudest for its cancellation – and they actually cancelled and backfilled a Subway in progress in 1995. Almost two decades later, Metrolinx, is building a transit line, along the same corridor – an LRT, which is partially above, and partially underground, slated for a 2021/2022 completion.
Kudos to Tim for recognizing the waste in government. We can be much more efficient and could easily cut the size of government. We could also sell business assets such as LCBO and open up a revenue stream for many floundering small retailers. The government would gain more revenue simply by not being in business and growing its list of entitled employees.
Selling off government assets and buildings?
Oh, please do tell us how the 407 sale ended up!
We got a billion, it;s now worth over 10 billion. Idiots.
Oh please do tell us how Chicago selling off its parking meters worked out!
Oh please tell us where this 2 billion dollars per year worth of buildings is!
Please tell me why you think selling a business, the LCBO, that brings in near 1B$ a year in profits for the Province will provide lasting revenue?
How about eliminating all the loop holes and write-off for corporations in this country and province so that what is supposed to be paid in taxes actually gets paid. How bout having the profits from the resources of this province and country, such as diamonds, gold, oil, natural gas, hydro, etc. go to the country instead of off-shore and foreign company pockets. Canada is the richest country in the world for natural resources that if managed properly and in the better interests of the country could provide us with all the revenue we would ever need for infrastructure. Sure invite foreign investors, but insist that a certain percentage of their profits goes to infrastructure projects by law with penalties such as asset seizure, fines and lease/license cancellations if they renege. If foreign investors want to profit from the resources that each and every Canadian has a birthright to then Canada should benefit in the process.
Ideological anti-Canadian nonsense. And smaller retailers would likely make very little from liquor sales as they cannot purchase in bulk. Prices on liquor would probably increase for the consumer as well. You can forget about your usual gushing praise for cheap booze in the US – no such thing. It comes with a great cost as it relies on low taxes. That nation of tax dodgers is in big trouble because they are just that – tax dodgers. The free ride will end for the tax dodgers by necessity. Tea Party buzzwords like “entitled” aren’t very impressive in a real country. And rather ironic coming from a fanboy of Hudak who has almost exclusively lived off of taxpayer dollars, from infancy to now.
They gain gain the billion lost and more by not being in business. The same money and more would be extracted from businesses with increased revenues. At the same time they expunge themselves of the expensive civil servants hired as wine testers, buyers, shelve stockers, warehouse operators etc. That money spent on maintaining excessive employees would be gained to support real aspects of governing. I repeat myself but governments should not be in business and then operate it as a monopoly.
Really! I am more Canadian than anyone I know. How the hell does the US even fit into this discussion. Is that your fall back defence when you have your nose up someone’s but.Oh, I get it, you are a civil servant and likely work for the LCBO.
Assets are not worth 2 billion/year but the total assets could easily be sold for that and more as a one shot boost. As for the $1.6 billion that the government or rather the unions claim is the feed back into Ontario’s revenue stream, a 2005 study by McGuinty found that in 2005 the revenue would actual increase if they were out of the business altogether.
“For its part, a report commissioned by the McGuinty government (but never acted upon) on what to do about alcohol sales in the province argued that privatization could increase revenue by $200 million.”
As we are almost 8 years advanced, it would be easy to say that dollar figure is now about $500,000 million more than is currently earned by the government running the business. Why does anyone believe the government can run anything? They should concentrate on regulation and monitoring and be out of all aspects of business.
It’s “fiscal conservatism”!
Need money? Then *stop bringing in revenue* as soon as you can! The bills will pay themselves! Let’s say you make 50 grand a year. Well *quit your job*! BAM — 50 grand saved!
Math?! Everyone knows that math is a lefty conspiracy!
You have no idea what you are talking about. The LCBO brings in approx a billion a year. What part of that don’t you understand?
Oh it you who don’t understand facts. The actual claimed revenue is $1.6 by being in business but by not being in business they would likely gain $2.1 billion. You do the math, what is better to remain in business or to get out of business.
I agree Ontario does not advantage enough royalties on resources; especially to foreign ownership. However, tax loop holes are being closed everyday. A government should be very careful in its approaches to any corporate tax. A tax on the corporation will necessitate an increase in the price of goods. We are already no longer competitive as a result of many problems foisted on us by the Liberals. The federal loopholes are being closed every day.
In Asia, transit agencies OWN buildings at their stations and lease them out to companies and residencies. And they MAKE money.
Here they are forced to sell off assets that could make money for them for a one time gain, like the 407.
Are they magical because you can’t understand how a government could spend money responsibly?
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