Tobacco tax hike didn't die with Wynne's budget

(QMI Agency files)

(QMI Agency files)

Hank Daniszewski, The London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:26 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- As usual, Ontario's latest budget went after smokers by hiking tobacco taxes.

Only one catch: The Liberal budget went up in smoke, triggering the provincial election, so you'd think smokers caught a break.

After all, the other tax increases in the failed budget -- a four-cent-per-litre hike on aviation fuel, and a hit on high-income earners -- went poof.

Think again.

Even though the budget died, smokers -- as many are finding out -- were still singed, paying an extra 1.6 cents tax per cigarette or an extra $3.25 on a 200-cigarette carton.

Why?

Well, smokers, as it turns out, are special.

Far from having to pass a budget to pull it off, Ontario's finance minister can simply invoke a regulation -- it's called 5/05 -- to make smokers cough up more.

Done.

If it's any consolation, smokers can always fire up a cigar. Taxes on stogies are unchanged.


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