Opinion: Canadian corporations enjoy billions of dollars in tax cuts while we bear the burden

In 2013 I wrote an article in the Toronto Star where I laid out the unfortunate reality that exists for large corporations in Ontario. 

In the article, I described how Ontario’s large corporate tax rate was reduced to just 11.5 per cent by the then governing Ontario Liberals. It would have been reduced even lower had the NDP not stopped the Liberals’ campaign to make the mega-corporation tax rate a lowly 10 per cent.

Each percent back then amounted to roughly $1 billion in lost revenue during a time when the economy was growing, corporations were sitting on record piles of cash, and the Liberals were proposing charging you directly for transit expansion with toll roads and other daily fees and taxes.

There was absolutely *no* reason to make life easier for corporations, and life harder for you. In fact, the economic conditions in 2013 were the exact kind when you ask big business to pay their fair share.

The Federal Liberals under Trudeau are no better. They kept Stephen Harper’s tax cuts to mega-corporations and there is no sign of rolling them back. All the while they pledged to deficit spend on our backs.

A recent report by the Canada Revenue Agency detailed how corporations are still avoiding paying taxes. It estimates that corporations, in just one year avoided between $9.4 billion and $11.4 billion in taxes. That is money we are going to have to pay instead with our taxes.

Today the economy is still chugging along as it was before the tax cuts. Corporations are raking in record profits while still not paying their fair share. The corporate tax rate in Ontario is still at 11.5 percent and the Conservative Provincial government has pledged to finish the job the Liberals started by reducing the corporate tax rate to 10.5 percent.

This will take away roughly another $1 billion in revenue while healthcare, education, childcare, child nutrition programs, and front line services you rely on are cut.

It seems we’re expected to pay more for less, while corporations are paying less and raking in more profits.

Supporters of this tax cuts plan will argue it “stimulates job growth.” As I detailed in the 2013 article, studies show that despite over 15 years of corporate tax reduction, corporations have simply banked the money instead of reinvesting it as was intended. This notion holds even more truth today. It is madness to continue this policy.

To be clear, I am not speaking about taxes on small businesses. They enjoy a completely different and smaller tax burden, as they should. This is about the mega corporations with assets of over $50 million who are sitting on piles of cash yet refuse to pay their fair share.

For years and years, both the Conservatives and the Liberals have counted on your vote so they can subsidize the profits for their big business friends on your back. 

This fall, don’t let them take your vote for granted again.

Maria Augimeri is the former Councillor for Downsview, Former Chair of the TTC, TRCA, North York Community Council and Downsview Aerospace Working Group, and the current federal NDP candidate for Humber River—Black Creek. She is a periodic contributor to the Downsview Advocate. 

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