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Doctors and Lawyers to Duncan: Tax us. Ontario is worth it.
March 28, 2012TORONTO - Groups representing doctors and lawyers today decried Ontario Treasurer Dwight Duncan's austerity budget. Dr. Gary Bloch a downtown Toronto family doctor speaking on behalf of Doctors for Fair Taxation expressed alarm of cuts to needed programs and services. "Freezing social assistance and housing programs will lead to more diabetes and heart disease. I urge the Ontario government to reconsider its budget, raise taxes on the province's highest earners, and spare the axe."
"Almost all the economic gains of the past decade have gone to Canada's top 1% but our taxes haven't gone up accordingly," says Omar Ha-Redeye, a Toronto lawyer focusing on health law and a spokesperson for Lawyers for Fair Taxation. "Economic inequality is getting worse. Instead of breaking their promise to raise the Ontario Child Tax Credit, the McGuinty Government should ask the province's highest earners to pay their fair share."
Dr. Tanya Zakrison, a Toronto trauma surgeon, sees the effects of social inequality every day in her hospital's emergency department. "It's immoral to ask the poor, the unemployed, and low income workers to balance the province's books while not asking anything significant of Ontario's highest earning citizens. And, these cuts will come back to haunt us because unequal societies are unhealthy societies."
Ontario Public Health physician, Dr. Rosana Pellizzari noted the irony of Treasurer Duncan portraying himself as supporting equity by introducing higher user fees for the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan. "Why wouldn't the Treasurer increase taxes on all of the top 10% who have more than $100,000 of taxable income? Why would the province choose only to tax sick seniors?" Dr. Pellizzari added that the province and the federal government have cut high end income taxes substantially in the last few decades. "In the 1960s, the highest marginal rate of 80% and was charged on income above $2.5 million. Now the highest marginal rate is only 46% on income over $132,000. We have a flat tax for the rich. I pay a top rate of 46% but so does a billionaire."
Mr. Ha-Redeye says the lawyers and doctors have come together to ask for four new Federal and Ontario income tax brackets at taxable incomes of $100,000, $170,000, $640,000 and $1,850,000 corresponding to the top 10%, 1%, one tenth of one percent, and one hundredth of one percent of taxpayers. Ha-Redeye notes, "We could raise approximately $1.7 billion in new revenue for the Ontario government while leaving tax rates unchanged for 90% of taxpayers. We ask Mr. Duncan and Mr. McGuinty to hold their knives. We join with the doctors and say, Tax us. Ontario is worth it!"
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