Economists and business leaders are warning the federal Liberals that they are about to repeat Stephen Harper’s mistake in proposing to scrap ­billions of dollars in scheduled corporate tax cuts.

The federal Conservatives’ two-point cut of the GST made for good politics but bad economics, economists have long complained. Now they say Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is also attempting to take the easy political route in trying to raise an estimated $6 billion in additional revenue, buying future votes at the expense of the long-term health of the economy.

Ignatieff said Sunday that a Liberal government would freeze the corporate tax rate at 18 per cent, indefinitely deferring a planned cut to 15 per cent until it’s affordable.

But TD Bank chief economist Don Drummond said yesterday there is almost universal agreement among experts that the most destructive taxes are those on corporations and the least are sales taxes.

In 2006, the Tories cut the GST rather than what economists say would have been preferable — reducing income levies, particularly on lower-earning Canadians.

The moves proposed by Ignatieff would take billions of dollars from a corporate sector that is just emerging from a deep recession and needs the money to invest and modernize, economists said.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce president Perrin Beatty said the federal Liberals sprang the proposal without consulting with the business community beforehand.

“It was a surprise and an unpleasant one,” he said.

“We will be following up with them to express our deep concern about this.”

It is furthermore unclear whether Ottawa would gain as much as the Liberals believe, said Toronto-area economic consultant Dale Orr.