Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a cut to the provincial gas tax in place since the summer will be extended for another year.

The tax cut, which took effect on July 1 and was set to expire on Dec. 31, slashed prices at the pumps by 5.7 cents a litre.

At a Sunday morning news conference in Toronto, Ford announced plans to table legislation that would extend the cut to the end of 2023.

Ford said the extension would provide people with “some needed relief at the pumps” and that the average household can expect to save around $195 over the course of the year.

In a statement, Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns criticized the move, saying it will “leave folks struggling.”

“Ontarians are getting crushed by the skyrocketing cost of groceries, housing and utility bills, and they need more help,” Tabuns said. “We should be bringing back and expanding real rent control. We should be doubling social assistance rates. We should be helping people curb their natural gas bills. We should be taking on greedy corporations that are using the guise of inflation to gouge people.”

The announcement comes a day before the province is set to release its fall economic statement.

Ontario is in good shape financially. A report two weeks ago from the province’s Financial Accountability Office projects budget surpluses for the foreseeable future.

The financial watchdog is forecasting a $100-million surplus at the end of this fiscal year, and an $8.5-billion surplus in 2027-28.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced in September that Ontario ended the last fiscal year with a $2.1-billion surplus, a far cry from the $33-billion deficit projected in the budget, thanks to inflation and a strong economy.

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