Budget Fails to Take the Steps Needed

QUEEN’S PARK – Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said today’s budget fails to make the structural changes necessary in the way government operates and spends to avoid a $30 billion deficit, and throws up barriers to private sector job creation – so it cannot be supported.

“This is the time when we need to expect stronger leadership from government. We need tough and responsible fiscal management,” Hardeman said. “Yet today’s budget is a weak and disappointing response to Ontario’s jobs and spending crisis. In fact, it actually puts up roadblocks to the very economic growth its assumptions are pinned on.”

In particular, Hardeman cited the cancellation of business tax cuts: “At just the time we need to be making Ontario more competitive and restoring business confidence to create jobs, Dalton McGuinty is taking $1.5 billion out of the economy over the next three years to pay for his over-spending.”

In Hardeman’s last Oxford business survey 87 % of Oxford’s businesses said that taxes were too high.

Other troubling aspects of the budget are:

A deficit now three times the size of all other provinces combined;

A 2011 deficit that actually increased over the previous year – and doesn’t decrease for another year;

Spending increases in 14 out of 24 Ministries;

A complete lack of a jobs plan except for yet another advisory body; and

No concrete action on the cost of public sector compensation – just more consultations.
Hardeman said the budget shows the Premier does not grasp the seriousness of Ontario’s situation – having failed to move off the path toward a $30 billion deficit with his uncontrolled spending: “Instead he has made long-term commitments to pet projects with no way to pay for them, while grabbing for short-term revenues through one-off asset sales and fee increases.”

Hardeman noted that several months ago, Leader Tim Hudak provided clear criteria for judging everything the government does, adding the budget fails all three:

It does far too little to reduce the size and cost of government through long-term, structural change to the way government operates and spends;

The budget works against contributing to private sector job creation with higher taxes on businesses that will further erode confidence in Ontario as a place to invest and create jobs; and

Because it does nothing to rein in runaway spending, the budget fails to ensure value for money and accountability for taxpayers.
“Ontarians deserve better than a $30 billion deficit and continued stagnant economic growth,” Hardeman said. “That’s why I will continue to promote our Ontario PC plan to strengthen our economy and create jobs.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford