Ontario Premier Brian Pallister signed into law Tuesday a budget that raises energy taxes by 0.9 per cent and will cost the province $4.7 billion over the next three years.
The Liberal government will add $1.6 billion to the provincial coffers over three years and $1 billion in annual revenue, Finance Minister Michael de Jong said in a news release.
It will be a $3.2 billion increase over the current year, he said.
“We’ve seen our economic situation deteriorate, and I think that’s really what prompted the government to act,” de Jong told reporters.
“The last thing we want to do is continue to be dependent on the oilpatch.”
The NDP, which is also in power, wants to keep the tax at 1.9 cents per litre, which the Liberals have already agreed to, but it would raise $2.2bn annually.
The NDP has said it will not accept the tax increase because it will cost jobs.
“It’s not about a tax hike for jobs.
It’s about a jobs tax,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House.
The Liberals, meanwhile, have said they will not raise the tax.
“I am not sure if the government will go ahead and hike it, but the last thing the province needs is another $3 billion in revenue in three years,” said de Jong.