NDP platform calls for corporate tax hike, HST relief, tuition freeze

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath started her day of campaigning at the Cyril Clark branch Library in...

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath started her day of campaigning at the Cyril Clark branch Library in Brampton, Ont. on Wednesday May 21, 2014. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 6:34 PM ET

TORONTO -- Ontario's New Democrats are promising to hike up corporate taxes but cut expenses for average folk.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's election platform, released Thursday in Toronto, vows to balance the provincial budget in 2017-18 while giving post-secondary students, caregivers and hydro ratepayers a break.

"You deserve a government that respects your tax dollars and invests those tax dollars in your priorities," Horwath said.

"One of the things that people forget about (NDP founder) Tommy Douglas, one of Tommy's basic fundamental values was to balance the budget ... because Tommy didn't want to be paying interest to the bank. He wanted to use these tax dollars to provide services like health care to families in the province."

The province is spending $12.5 billion more than it takes in but all three major provincial parties are vowing to get the books balanced soon.

Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives say they'd be in the black by 2016, in part by cutting 100,000 positions from the public payroll over four years.

A Kathleen Wynne government might "sell off land" to help balance the budget, Scarborough Centre Liberal candidate Brad Duguid said Thursday.

Wynne's May 1 budget includes increases in tobacco taxes and personal income taxes for individuals making more than $150,000 a year.

The Liberal budget plan also estimates that "maximizing" publicly owned assets -- including possibly selling off its General Motors shares and a "number of prime-located real estate assets" -- would generate an additional $935 million in 2014-15.

"When it comes to assets, we've appointed (former TD Bank chief) Ed Clark -- one of the foremost experts in the country -- to give us guidance on the best way to squeeze as much revenue out of the assets that we have, and sell off land if we don't need it and things like that," Duguid said.

Duguid said most NDP supporters are telling him at the door that they don't understand why Horwath didn't back the Liberal budget, but chose instead to take the province to the polls.

Horwath said she thinks Ontarians are tired of the Liberal government and their record of waste and scandal.

"It's not inevitable to have a government that disrespects you that way," Horwath said.

The NDP would increase corporate taxes by 1% to 12.5%.

The platform proposes a $1,275 annual tax credit for anyone who is the primary caregiver of someone who is elderly or ill and in need of help with basic tasks.

The NDP vows to freeze Ontario's post-secondary tuition and eliminate the provincial portion of interest on student loans, while keeping the Liberal-introduced 30% tuition break for those families earning $160,000 or less.

Horwath is promising to strip the 8% provincial portion of the HST off hydro bills when the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB) ends.

The PCs, Liberals and NDP plan to halt the OCEB, which buffers high hydro bills by handing 10% of the tab to taxpayers.

The NDP would also mandate a 15% reduction in auto insurance rates, the platform states.

NDP platform also calls for the widening of 60 kilometres of highway each year and to prioritize such transit projects as the downtown Toronto relief line and the Scarborough line in Toronto.


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