Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to use taxpayers’ dollars to sell his controversial 13 per cent harmonized sales tax to Ontarians, sources told Torstar News Service.

But first the Liberals must manoeuvre around McGuinty’s own law against partisan government advertising.

Insiders say the government plans to go on the offensive with an advertising blitz to convince a skeptical public that streamlining the 8 per cent provincial sales tax and the 5 per cent federal GST will help Ontario’s recession-battered businesses.

The multi-media campaign would also highlight how benefits from tax harmonization could be passed onto consumers and publicize the “rebate” cheques of up to $1,000 that will be mailed to most Ontarian households.

As of July 1, 2010, Ontarians will pay a blended tax of 13 per cent on hundreds of items that had previously been subject to only the 5 per cent GST. That move will boost the price of items such as gasoline, heating fuel, fast food, newspapers, magazines, taxi fares, dry cleaning and new homes costing more than $400,000, among other things.

To get around the 2004 law banning ads paid for taxpayer dollars that “promote the partisan political interests of the governing party,” the Liberals are quietly lobbying Auditor General Jim McCarter, the watchdog charged with enforcing it.