Ontario’s New Democrats want to see the province’s most affluent residents pay higher taxes, the first in a series of proposed amendments they have for the Liberal government’s recently introduced budget.
Andrea Horwath told reporters Tuesday that the NDP wants to raise the provincial tax rate for Ontarians making more than $500,000 by two percentage points.
The NDP estimates that raising the tax rates for these high-earning Ontarians could help protect 4,000 child-care spaces and eliminate the HST from home-heating bills.
"Our proposal is going to be to shift the costs of recovery, so that it’s borne more fairly by all Ontarians," Horwath said. "It’s a simple idea, it’s a practical idea."
But Horwath would not say if the Liberals absolutely would have to adopt the proposal in order to secure the NDP’s support for its budget.
"Now we’re not drawing lines in the sand at this time, but we’re urging the Liberal government to think seriously about our proposals if they want New Democrat support for their budget," she said.
Horwath said that the NDP’s forthcoming proposals would also be in the same spirit as its tax proposal.
"We’re putting these proposals out there — and others will come — because we think that the government needs to think seriously about how they can listen to Ontarians and make this budget more fair," she said.
McGuinty willing to listen
Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he'll entertain any new ideas from the NDP to improve the budget, but any new spending would have to be offset with new revenue.
The Conservatives vow to defeat the budget, so the Liberals need at least two NDP votes or the minority government will be defeated, triggering another election.
At the moment, the Liberals hold 53 seats in the legislature, while the Tories hold 37 and the New Democrats the remaining 17.
Earlier Tuesday, McGuinty accused the Tories of trying to force an election he said no one wants, one he warned would jeopardize the province's fragile economic recovery.
"I am disappointed in the Opposition's determination to force an election upon Ontarians, an election that is unnecessary and very expensive," McGuinty said after touring a Roots factory.
"What Ontario needs right now, what our economy needs right now, is more stability and more certainty."
Horwath says the budget places an unfair burden on families and the NDP wants to make deficit reduction fairer for workers.