Rebuild Ontario plan

Disclaimer: I am not an economist or an expert in any field. This is purely an opinionated piece.

Manufacturing has been the heart and soul of Ontario’s economy for years. It has been the catalyst for the wealth and prosperity of this province but has come under fire as manufacturers move away to find cheaper workers and bigger profits. The recession of 2008 emphasized the issue and pressed fast forward on the reduction of our manufacturing base. In order for Ontario to regain the title of ‘have’ province and regain the prestige it has lost we need to do something drastic. We need to make Ontario a place where companies will flock too and invest their money. I believe that having a tiered tax plan will positively impact the way that business in Ontario succeed. Along with other regulation changes, promotional changes and tax benefits we could again become the mecca of manufacturing. Taxes are a necessity for the continued operation of governments and the services they provide but they are a drain on workers, companies and a deterrent to potential investment. I believe that if we tiered our tax system to support the businesses that are invested in Ontario we can offset any negatives that these changes bring.

The new system would be a 3 tiered based on geographical location of the production facility. The first level would be Ontario, 2nd would be North America (Minus Mexico) and 3rd would be international. Ontario HST currently sits at 13% with 8% being the provincial portion of that tax. For companies who produce in Ontario and sell the product in Ontario the tax would be reduced to 9% HST with 4% going to the province. This would be the first portion of the new tiered plan; the reduction in sales tax would allow for items made and sold in Ontario to be cheaper for consumers. A dedicated promotion of Ontario made goods would allows consumers to easily know when the item qualifies for the reduced tax. This would make the things we build here in Ontario much more attractive and help to increase the sales of Ontario businesses. Tax breaks for companies that upgrade factories, upgrade machinery and hire new workers would also be available to companies who decide to build in Ontario. While the reduction in tax income and tax breaks might hurt in the short term; the increase in business for companies and the incentives to hire in Ontario will offset the loses.

The North American tax rate would sit at 12% with a 7% provincial portion. This would still allow companies who are manufacturing in North America to see some extra benefit in the largest province in Canada. The importance of allowing companies who produce and manufacture in North America to see a benefit is substantial. In the global economy positive announcements from neighbours can almost be just as beneficial as announcements inside your own territory. The biggest effect the tax reduction would likely have is an increase in domestically produced automobiles as less taxes make them more affordable. There could be a case made that would allow a even bigger reduction for companies situated in Canada. This reduction would affect the income of taxes to the government but would made up by the addition of the higher international tax bracket. Allowing companies who produce in Ontario or in North America to have a cheaper tax bracket would provide an incentive for companies and could be the push companies need to return.

The international tax rate would sit at 16% or 11% Provincial HST. Making this more expensive would push consumers to look at purchasing more items made here in North America or Ontario. Since many products are produced outside of our borders and would likely continue for the short-mid term this could help to pay for the reduced tax brackets and investment breaks. One of the biggest benefits of increasing the tax rate for international companies would be the return of the high tech manufacturing jobs. BlackBerry (previously RIM) ditched a Canadian company in its restructuring to focus its production from companies in Malaya. An increased cost to the company could help to restructure the deal once again to have those products produced here in Canada. This could also help to rebuild the aerospace, transportation and general manufacturing sectors which have been decimated by the influx of cheap Chinese materials flowing onto the market. Stemming the tide of jobs going to cheaper countries while leaving huge portions of our population underemployed or looking for work will be important into the future. Its time we become a little more selfish and start looking out for number 1.

Even if these changes go into effect it wont be nearly as effective without changes from the way governments do business. We need to look at red tape and cut the stuff that doesn’t make sense anymore. We need to cut the bloated bureaucracy and make sure that our government meets the needs of the people and the companies looking to set up business. We need to make sure that we are providing the best business environment for companies and providing a high standard of living for people. Getting people out of poverty and reducing the debt will continue to be important priorities for government. Now I am not sure if this would be something that could actually work do to trade agreements and other agreements but it could be something to rebuild the decimated manufacturing sector in Ontario. We need to do something to get the hundreds of shutters plants back up and running.

Sleeper Fine

One of the issues that the city of Thunder Bay is trying to fix is the number of people staying in parking lots around the city for free as compared to the city and privately run campgrounds. Campers fill the parking lots of County Fair Mall and other businesses throughout the city having gone past at least 1 campground. There are many questions as to why they avoid the campgrounds and fill the parking lots. Questions around how we get them into campgrounds like TrowBridge or Chippewa and make these investments a better financial situation then they currently are. This has been something that council and administration have worked on for a number of years. They have tried to improve the signage and the advertising of the campgrounds to bring more people to the area and it seems to be working. Having worked both sites you do see people stopping that are traveling across the country. Many of the people who do stay here though are residents of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. The money staying in Thunder Bay is great but we want to capture as much money from outside sources. I believe that the city should implement a fine of $80 to those RV’s, campers and sleepers found in parking lots and public spaces around the city. The fine would be paid up front through credit card, payment transfer, cash and other forms. The individual would be allowed to stay in that space for the night if they decided but they could get 20 buck back if they go to a city camp site and check in. This fine could be easily implemented through the city’s security contract and not cost an extra cent for the taxpayer. Payment to the security company would come in the form of a percentage of the fine. The city would take the $40-$60 dollars and the other $20 would be directed to the security company. If we could increase the attendance rates of the campsites by 10-15% it would have a huge impact on the parks division and their ability to upgrade, maintain and pay for the services they provide. This fine could also provide more employment to both the public and private sectors and reduce the impact felt by taxpayers come tax season. Being forced to come through Thunder Bay it becomes the perfect bottleneck for bringing these people to our campsites.

Its not all about making money though by catching people. If we make these people stay overnight in one of our fabulous campsites they might decide to stay another night or longer. We could really make this into much bigger thing then people simply catching 4-5 hours of sleep and then passing through again. Thunder Bay has much to offer and many people don’t take the time in this society of go, go, go to stop and look. I believe that we would also have the support of businesses around Thunder Bay who are sick of people sleeping in their parking lots. County fair mall is a perfect example of a site which has tried to keep people away. The parking lot is filled on a nightly basis with 5-10 transports taking up spaces. They come and park their vehicles all night to stay close to the highway but also to avoid having to pay to sleep somewhere like Husky. The owner has tried to force these vehicles to stay away by putting up signs and saying they will charge people but to no avail. RV’s, personal vehicles and people towing trailers are also in this mix now with summer finally arriving. While this fine would only cover the smaller vehicles it could be the start of something bigger with private support. I believe that this is something that could be implemented for next season and could help to raise the income of both Trowbridge and Chippewa campgrounds. We need to bring in more the just local residents to these places. We need the outside money and this could be an option for the city to consider.

So what do you think?

Would you lose it if you had to pay $6o or $80 cause you wanted to catch a couple Z’s in the walmart parking lot?

Comment in the section below!

Condolences to the families of the firefighters

From theNotsoNews to the families of the firefighters who were killed this weekend fighting the fires in Arizona I would like to provide my condolences to the families and appreciate the great work these gentlemen did. The tragic news of their deaths is something that affects every family in that region but also every person in or considering public service like these brave souls. These men and women know the risks everyday but they continue to serve us. We thank them and everyone that puts their lives in risk for our safety. Our condolences to the families of the fallen.

Firefighters