According to a new poll, 73 per cent of Ontarians feel that the average family is over-taxed. This result should not come as a surprise. A 2022 study published by the Fraser Institute found that the average Ontario family (consisting of two or more people) paid 44 per cent of its income in taxes (including income taxes, sales taxes, etc.).
Unfortunately, relief is nowhere in sight. Although both the provincial and federal governments will soon table their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, there’s been no serious discussion about tax reductions.
In fact, the Ford government, which will table its next budget this week, has walked back promises it made on the campaign trail in 2018 when then-candidate Ford championed lower taxes, stating that the government was perhaps “the worst place you can hand your money over.” But as premier, Ford has done little to nothing to reduce taxes for Ontario families.
The same poll, conducted by Leger and commissioned by the Fraser Institute, found that 80 per cent of Ontarians believe the average family should pay 40 per cent or less of its income in total taxes. And more than half of respondents (55 per cent) in the province believe the average family should pay 25 per cent or less of its income. (Remember, the average Ontarian family currently pays more than 40 per cent of its income on taxes.)
Clearly, there’s incongruity between what Ontarians believe the average family should pay in total taxes versus what the average Ontarian family actually pays. Ontarians want tax reductions, but their governments are not listening.
Finally, according to the poll, Ontarians are not thrilled with the quality of services (health care, education, police, roads, etc.) they receive in exchange for their tax dollars. Four in 10 (40 per cent) Ontarians believe they get poor or very poor value from government services. Only 19 per cent of Ontarians feel they receive good or great value from the services their tax dollars finance. And roughly three in 10 (31 per cent) said they receive satisfactory value.
When Ontarians voice their opinions on taxes in the province, the results are clear. They want lower taxes, and they aren’t over the moon about the quality of services provided by all levels of government. In other words, Ontarian families feel they’re over-taxed and governments are under-delivering, and the Ford and Trudeau governments should pay attention this budget season.
Jake Fuss is associate director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute.