Oxford MPP and Progressive Conservative critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman, has pledged to oppose the new Harmonized Sales Tax – or, as his party calls it, the Dalton Sales Tax (DST).
To commemorate Ontario Agriculture Week, Hardeman, in the Ontario legislature, raised the impact of the tax on rural Ontario and farmers.
As recently as June 10, McGuinty pleaded ignorance to understanding the impact of the tax when asked by the media.
Hardeman explained how the tax will hurt farmers across Ontario by eliminating the current PST point-of-sale exemption.
He also noted how farmers stand to lose thousands of dollars a year in increased taxes on rural essentials ranging from home heating fuel, postage stamps, home repair services, and gas for their car. He said that taking $2.5-billion out of the pockets of Ontario consumers already left hurting by the recession, the tax will further limit the ability of producers to sell their products.
Hardeman outlined the approach an Ontario PC Party would develop to support Ontario farmers:
– Protecting supply management for the sectors that count on it.
– Working with industry to develop a smart risk management system for sectors that do not have supply management
– Working with the federal government to ensure a strong trading relationship with the United States, particularly in light of the hurdles that have emerged from policies such as Country-of-Origin-Legislation.
– Supporting a Buy Ontario policy that actively encourages Ontario provincial institutions to support local producers when procuring food.
– Peeling back the growing regulatory burden and crippling tax system that punishes value added agriculture.
“Thanks to this latest McGuinty tax grab, farmers will lose their point of sale exemption and climb yet another pile of paperwork in order to see any sort of rebate,” he said. “They deserve better than to be stuck farming their mailbox just to receive some of their own money back.”
He added, “We have already seen almost 35,000 agriculture jobs disappear over the past year. It was shocking to hear the premier of Ontario claim to be ignorant of the punishing impact that his sales tax grab will have on farmers.”
Current point-of-sale tax exemption cards for farm equipment, farm tools, machinery, and building supplies will no longer be accepted. Farmers will pay the full 13% tax up front, then wait months for rebates.
Ontario has seen a 9.6% drop in agricultural employment year-over-year in 2009.
For a full list of items that will be taxed under the new tax and to sign the PC Party petition visit: www.daltonsalestax.com