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Hudak slams McGuinty’s ‘panicked’ early tax credit roll-out Add to ...

A Liberal plan to speed up the implementation of a tax credit for seniors in a bid to kick-start the job market is a panicked last minute move that shows desperation, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak charged Thursday as he vowed not to veer from his platform in coming days.

But the Liberals said the move isn’t that dramatic – they are simply implementing the program sooner than expected because the economy is in need of some help.

They Liberals said Thursday they would move the eligibility date for a proposed tax credit forward so seniors can fix their homes to make them easier to live in. The new date for the credit – which is worth up to $1,500 – is now Oct. 1 instead of January 2013.

Moving the program forward is expected to cost them $150-million.

The program is contingent on re-election, so anyone who took advantage of the program in its early days would be risking absorbing the full cost of their renovations if anther party won.

After speaking at an Ottawa Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Mr. Hudak said it’s too late to start introducing or enhancing platform planks.

“We’re seven days out and Dalton McGuinty has some brand-new, last-minute panicked jobs plan,” he said. “Give me a break – you can’t make this stuff up on the fly. We have a plan, and we’re sticking to it.”

Mr. Hudak focused on jobs in his morning speech, sticking to the five themes he’s emphasized through the campaign: energy costs, overhauling the apprenticeship system, reducing taxes for employers, eliminating red tape and reducing taxes for families so they have more money to spend.

“Dalton McGuinty’s so-called jobs plan has been tried,” he said. “It has failed. It’s not working. You can’t subsidize your way to better jobs. You can’t tax your way to prosperity. You can’t spend your way out of debt. And you can’t divide your way to a better future for all.”

The Liberal announcement of the early roll-out came the day after Mr. McGuinty said he’d spend this week focusing on the economy and job creation. The party, he said, has been watching economic developments in Europe and the U.S.

“We’re acting in a responsible manner, both in terms of what needs to be done and acting within the framework of our own fiscal plan,” Mr. McGuinty said.

“There’s only one party here that’s got a real, sensible, serious plan to grow this economy and create jobs, that’s us,” he said.

The Liberals said Thursday that the tax credit would generate “immediate demand” for skilled labour and manufacturing. It uses the federal government’s home renovation tax credit program as its model, which has been widely credited for spurring economic activity.

Beyond boosting the economy and creating jobs, the program will help seniors live in their homes longer, reducing costs for hospital and long-term care costs, Mr. McGuinty said.

The Liberal campaign stopped at the home of seniors John and Victoria Vonk, who Mr. McGuinty said are some of the people who could benefit from the credit.

Sitting in their living room with Mr. McGuinty and his wife, the Vonks said they would be interested in making renovations such as putting in a chair lift to help them maneuver their stars and a walk-in bath.

The credit is worth 15 per cent of up to $10,000 in renovations per year. The money will come from the annual $1.7-billion contingency fund set aside in the platform budget.

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