Ontario New Democratic leader Andrea Horwath laid out the first of her budget demands from incoming Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne, asking the minority government to raise corporate tax revenue by closing loopholes and create a job-placement program for young people.
Ms. Horwath’s plan would eliminate a tax exemption on employer health tax for companies with more than 100 workers, crack down on corporations that shift profits around the country to dodge taxes and permanently restricting tax credits for HST paid on things like meals and entertainment.
Simultaneously, she called for the province to create a system to connect people aged 16 to 26 with jobs, and subsidize up to $7,800 of their wages for six months.
“Companies should get tax breaks for employing young people, not for enjoying a night out on the town,” she said at a Queen’s Park news conference.
She dismissed suggestions that upping corporate taxes would cause companies to shed jobs, or that offering tax incentives for hiring young people would discourage them from hiring more seasoned workers.
Ms. Horwath also asked Ms. Wynne to implement part of a report on reforming the province’s social assistance system, which the incoming premier has pledged to do.
The NDP propped up the minority Liberals during last year’s budget by abstaining from the vote, and Ms. Wynne must rely on them or Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives to hold on to power.
Ms. Horwath said she would be making more requests over the next few weeks.