Green Tax Cut Will Create Jobs and Fight Climate Change

It’s time for the Green Party of Ontario’s Green Tax Cut to encourage sustainable job creation and create incentives to reduce waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.On Monday, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller released his Annual Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2010: Broadening Ontario's Climate Change Policy Agenda, which criticizes the Liberal government for failing to provide a clear plan to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. Ontario’s GHG emissions will actually increase between 2014 and 2020.

The ECO report recommends that Ontarians engage in a public conversation about implementing road tolls to help fund transit and to discuss putting a price on carbon, especially with a carbon tax. Although the old parties at Queen’s Park have clearly said they do not want to be part of this conversation, I think Ontarians are ready to explore smart solutions to reducing GHG emissions, especially if they are part of a comprehensive tax reform package.

A growing number of economists, business leaders and non-profits in Canada and around the world are ready to consider new ideas and bold solutions to maintaining prosperity while reducing GHG emissions. As evidenced by a recent Ernst & Young survey, business leaders increasingly see financial opportunity in environmental initiatives. Investments in energy efficiency, smart technologies and improved IT solutions will pay dividends not only for shareholders but for the environment as well.

With this in mind, the Green Party of Ontario is proposing a comprehensive tax reform package that begins with a Green Tax Cut to provide an incentive for businesses and individuals to go green and actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The GPO’s Green Tax Cut plan would reduce income taxes in a progressive way by increasing exemption levels and would lower business taxes, especially payroll taxes, to encourage job creation by making people less expensive to hire. Government revenue would be maintained through levies on waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Using the tax system to price carbon would create strong incentives for individuals and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while stimulating job creation and investment in green technology. Tax reform, combined with an aggressive energy efficiency and conservation plan targeting the transportation and building sectors, is the most cost effective and financially responsible approach to achieving greenhouse gas reductions.

It’s time for real leadership on reducing GHG emissions. It’s time for Green MPPs to deliver new ideas and sensible solutions to Queen’s Park.