$2.6B surplus fails to soften McGuinty’s stance on premium
Premier Dalton McGuinty has dashed any hopes of scrapping the annual health tax of up to $900 a person despite soaring government revenues and a looming legislative review of the levy.
While the Liberal government will launch an examination of the controversial tax in the New Year, McGuinty struck a decidedly Grinch-like tone yesterday for those who hoped he might give taxpayers a yuletide surprise.
"That was raised during the course of the campaign. I dealt with that very specifically and straightforwardly and said, ‘No, we cannot eliminate or reduce our health tax,’?" the premier said in an interview with CJBK radio’s Steve Garrison in London.
"We need that money to continue to invest in our continuing capacity to assure that we’ve got health care there for people when we need it," he said.
The health premium, which was introduced in the 2004 budget just months after McGuinty had won power with a promise not to increase taxes, brings in about $2.6 billion a year.
Coincidentally, in last Thursday’s mini-budget, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan revealed that higher than expected personal and corporate tax revenues mean this year’s income projections have gone from $91.5 billion to $94.1 billion — a $2.6 billion surplus.
But Duncan also disclosed in his fall economic statement that spending would rise by $2.2 billion, to $93.3 billion from $91.1 billion.