News

Elliott would lower business tax to 10%

By Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun

Ontario PC leadership candidate Christine Elliott with her supporters announces her economic platform outside Queen's Park on Thursday, March 5 2015. (ANTONELLA ARTUSO/Toronto Sun)

Ontario PC leadership candidate Christine Elliott with her supporters announces her economic platform outside Queen's Park on Thursday, March 5 2015. (ANTONELLA ARTUSO/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

An Ontario government led by Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott would lower the province’s business tax rate to 10% over a three-year period.

Elliott, one of three candidates vying for the leadership of her party, released her economic platform Thursday surrounded by a number of PC MPPs.

In addition to a reduction in the business tax rate to 10% from 11.5%, Elliott said she would simplify the tax code and reform the apprenticeship system.

“(Premier) Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals pay lip service to supporting Ontario’s tradesmen and women, but don’t offer the same financial support as students going to colleges or university,” she said. “I will make Ontario’s apprentices (eligible) for student loans.”

Elliott said she would also order an immediate review of all government assets, and those that don’t serve “core” functions would be divested, noting the province doesn’t need to own all the parking lots and buildings in its portfolio.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said Ontario already has a low rate of business tax compared to competing jurisdictions, and reducing it to 10% would wipe out $1 billion in government revenues.

“I don’t know exactly how that PC math is going to continue to work,” Sousa said. “It’s going to destabilize our economic recovery.”

The Ontario PCs have been under Interim Leader Jim Wilson since last year when Tim Hudak stepped aside after his party lost nine seats in the June election that gave Wynne a majority government.

Conservative MP Patrick Brown and PC MPP Monte McNaughton are also seeking the leadership.

Brown has announced that he has secured more than 40,000 memberships — a very large number that if confirmed could make him the person to beat — but Elliott wasn’t conceding anything Thursday.

“People will talk about what they’ve done but I’m very confident in what our team is doing — look at all the people behind me,” Elliott said. “When the official reports come out from our party, we’ll see where things are.”

Later in the day, PC MPP Vic Fedeli issued a statement saying Elliott and her campaign signed up over 34,000 members.

The PC Party said it now has more than 80,000 members, up from 12,000 at the start of the leadership race.

Members will elect the new leader in May.

antonella.artuso@sunmedia.ca

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