NTRs – more to pay

A recent press release we received suggests the Dalton McGuinty Liberals are looking at even more ways to generate revenue – higher taxes basically.

That bills eventually need to be paid makes this trial balloon presented for public reaction almost a necessity. As we have opined dozens of times, the deficits being racked up federally and provincially make new moves a must.

In this case, McGuinty is encouraging his ministries to pursue non-tax revenues – or NTRs for short.

What that means for an already overburdened taxpayer is more premiums for services we assume can readily be paid for out of income and corporate taxes. In many ways, NTRs resemble user fees implemented by municipal governments years ago to combat the funding cuts that enabled the upper two levels of government to balance their operating budgets. In what amounts to a mid-way game, residents are asked to pay an additional fee to use facilities typically built and operated on tax revenue.

That user fee was a reminder of the cost for a service, but sadly, those fees now form a significant part of budgets and shield the true cost of services from individual tax bills.

The recent eco fee showed up as a example of things to come. The province backed off what essentially amounted to a third party tax – due to public uproar.

It’s important that citizens of Ontario recognize that such fees have to happen, until such time as our expectations of government services come in line with our ability to pay. Nothing we see suggests taxpayers have come to terms with that reality.

Regrettably, neither opposition party has come up with proposals for expenditure cutting that is palatable to the electorate. Any hopes of honesty in advance of the next election are faint. To put the province back in the black will require, dare we say it, another Mike Harris attitude.

That, in itself, should have many groups that had problems with his time as premier scrambling to offer advice on the continuing tax-and-spend mentality currently occupying the premier’s office. But like most people, the prospect of slowing down the gravy train for even a moment does not sit well.

Let’s face it, the difficulties facing most taxpayers through this recession have not directly impacted government bodies. The building and expansion of government services has actually increased in its pace.

 NTRs are almost a certain thing on that basis alone.