Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tory calls to help tourism too late

On Wednesday, John Tory called on the provincial government to eliminate taxes on hotels and tourist attractions for the summer. The idea is in response to the drop in tourism. It is similar to the gas tax vacation proposal in the US that has been endorsed by John McCain and Hillary Clinton.

The plan does have some appeal. Locals would be able to partake in more of the many activities Toronto and the rest of the province has to offer. These activities get expensive very quickly. It would also help to offset the pricing advantage that has been lost due to the strong dollar.

The timing of the announcement is based purely on politicking and nothing to do with helping the economy. A strong dollar, tanking US economy and soaring oil prices are a recipe for a decline in tourism. If Tory was concerned he should have brought his idea to the table when the budget was tabled.

If McGuinty woke up this morning and decided he liked the idea, there would not be sufficient time to implement it. The legislation would need to be drawn up reviewed and passed. Businesses would need time to adjust their prices and bookkeeping. Various theme parks offer a reduced rate for early season pass purchases. These tourist attractions have started or are about to raise their pricing to the standard summer rate. The season for them to benefit from a tax cut has already been mostly lost.

Proposing solutions to problems without proper time for implementation is irresponsible politics.
Practical solutions from government need to be practical or they will not work.

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