Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak announced Saturday that if elected he would make Ontario's business taxes the lowest in North America, which would create 120,000 new jobs in the province.
Reducing corporate taxes by 30 per cent — down from the current 11.5 per cent to eight per cent — is the third step of Hudak's eight-year plan to create one million new jobs in the province, he said.
"That will send a signal fire right across the world to say, 'Invest in Ontario. Add on that new machine. Hire more men and women,'" Hudak said at the Ranfar steel company in Courtice, Ont.
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"It will be the lowest tax in North America on job creation. That will create 120,000 more good jobs for workers. Isn't it time we gave more opportunity in this province for workers?"
To pay for the plan, Hudak said he would replace grants to businesses, which he is calling "corporate welfare," with the corporate tax reduction.
Those programs favour "well-connected" businesses and cost taxpayers up to $2 billion per year, Hudak said.
"Liberals are big in the crony capitalism business, I understand that, so fancy Liberal lobbyists are making out like bandits while people get laid off — real people," Hudak said.
"The only thing worse than big government is when big government gets into bed with big business — that means you lose. I would change that."
Cuts unnecessary, say critics
His announcement Saturday comes a day after he pledged to cut 100,000 public sector jobs as a way to help eliminate the $12.5-billion deficit by 2016. Hudak has said his plan to cut those jobs would spur job creation in the private sector.
His opponents have criticized those proposed cuts as unnecessary and bad for communities.
"Imagine, him telling us that his plan to grow jobs is to cut 100,000 jobs," Liberal Charles Sousa said Saturday.
"The Hudak PC's agenda for cuts and labour wars gets more radical and more dangerous by the day."
Another plank in Hudak's platform to create one million jobs over eight years is getting more young people into apprenticeships for the skilled trades.
Allowing more skilled trade apprentices on work sites would help create 200,000 positions, he has said.
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Hudak said this is a single-issue election campaign focused on creating more jobs, and added that his party would reduce the size and cost of the government.