LILLEY: It’s not complicated, Ford should move quicker on gas tax cut

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Doug Ford’s promise to cut the gas tax in Ontario, but not until July 1, has me hearing that great Canadian philosopher Avril Lavinge over and over again. “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” she sang in her 2002 hit song by her.

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It’s my question after hearing Ford explain why his gas tax won’t happen for almost three months.

“When I spoke to the finance department, they said it’s a very complicated moving through the logistics and everything,” Ford said Monday, the day after the toronto sun broke the news of the looming tax cut.

If you haven’t heard, the Ford government has now introduced legislation to reduce the provincial gas tax from 14.7 cents per liter to nine cents, but it’s only slated to last until Dec. 31.

Officials in finance, speaking on background, said that it’s been more than 30 years since a gas tax cut took place and many in the transportation sector buy their gas in advance. Thus, they said, it’s complicated.

“It’s not complicated, it’s a function of the fact that the government doesn’t have the money to do this yet,” Dan McTeague said on Monday. “It’s a flip of the switch for gas stations to change the price overnight.”

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McTeague is a former Liberal MP who spent years fighting for affordable fuel and now works as a gas price analyst and president of Canadians for Affordable Energy. What does he make of this argument that some airlines and trucking companies have purchased their fuel in advance and have already paid the tax?

“If they did pay upfront, then the province would then owe them that amount,” McTeague said.

So, is it really just Ford or the bureaucrats under him making it complicated?

Seems that way.

Governments can hike taxes overnight, they should be able to lower them. As for not having the money to keep this 2018 campaign promise, if the price of gas stays where it is, the province is taking in $1 billion more per year in provincial sales taxes on the higher price.

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This gas tax cut should happen, but quicker than July 1 and Ford should make that happen. He’s playing political games by putting this off until Canada Day.

Not that the opposition is much better. None of the opposition parties would commit to lowering gas taxes or keeping this one in place after the next election.

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The Liberals said families need relief and pointed to the need to lower child-care costs. That may be a pressing issue of parents with young kids, but won’t help anyone else facing higher costs at the pump.

The NDP, meanwhile, refused to say if the party would keep the tax cut in place if it won the election. Deputy leader Sara Singh said her party has legislation to regulate gas prices.

“We would stop price gouging at the pumps in our legislation,” Singh said.

That’s a nice sentiment, but not exactly true. Every province east of Ontario has some form of government regulation of gas prices, and they all pay more.

“Ask people in Newfoundland how they like paying $1.93 for a liter of gas,” McTeague said of the idea of ​​price regulation.

Regulating gas prices will only lead to higher prices, not lower. Ford is on the right path in cutting gas taxes, but he should be doing it sooner. He should also keep his campaign promise and make it permanent.

It’s time for Ford to get the lead out.

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