Budget 2014 – Ontario Should Follow by Example

February 12, 2014
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 Hear Gareth Neilson’s comments on the Budget

 

 

For Immediate Release                                                                                                            February 12, 2014

 Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says: Ontario is getting screwed

TORONTO: When most commentators, economists and political types reviewed the 2014 Federal budget the response was similar: It was a plain, bare bones budget. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t even great, it just was. But not Ontario’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa. No his response was simple: Ontario is getting “ripped off”.

Many Ontarians think the provincial government should be following the lead of the federal government.

Ontarians sure know a thing or two about being ripped off. For starters, the current government has doubled the size of the provincial debt in 10 years. More debt has been added than all other governments in the history of Ontario combined. Our debt is forecast to soon be $300 Billion and there is no plan to pay for it. Our third largest budget expenditure is paying interest on the debt. And now, when a child is born in this once great province, they come into this world owing our creditors almost $20,000. That new child is being ripped off.

The economic policies of the government have been shameful at best. Taxpayers have been burdened with the HST; a move that promised to create 600,000 jobs. We are now paying more for our goods and services, but there are no jobs in sight.

The Green Energy Act in Ontario has been a spectacular failure. Not only are communities forced to be unwilling hosts of giant wind farms that destroy their landscape, they have seen their hydro rates nearly triple over the last ten years. How can average families afford this? They can’t. They too, are being ripped off.

Our manufacturing sector has been in a free-fall over this past decade and the decline has accelerated over the past few years. Despite doling out billions in corporate welfare these large multinational corporations continue to close at an alarming rate, and its easy to see why. Businesses are forced to finance the Green Energy Act through the Global Adjustment Fund. This fund pays the difference between the market price for power and the price paid to generators. Before the Green Energy Act, the fund collected $700 million per year from business. The government has signed outrageous Green Energy contracts, and the Auditor General estimated that this year the Global Adjustment paid by business will amount to $8.1 Billion. The difference between the Global Adjustment paid by business in 2006 compared to today is the equivalent of 135 000 jobs paying $70 000 per year. Its easy to see who is being ripped off.

Most appalling is how the government has decided to let big public sector unions run this province. The last budget tabled before the current government was elected had a total of $71 Billion in spending. Last year, the government spent almost that amount, $64 Billion, just on public sector wages and benefits. Over 300 000 employees have now been added to the public payroll which had created a structural deficit that we may never be able to get out of. Every year, public sector supporters get sweetheart contracts, while the rest of us are left to pay the bill. It is taxpayers who are feeling r

And now, when the government is sure to face an election, it is suddenly concerned about pension plans. There is a plan, vague at best, to start up a new Made in Ontario pension plan. But why should Ontarians be interested in a new pension plan, when the publicly funded public sector employee pension funds are looking at a $100 Billion unfunded liability? Where is the plan to deal with the pension tsunami about to hit Ontario taxpayers? The best way to have Ontarians save for retirement is to cut taxes and give them their money back. But that won’t happen. And that leaves many of us feeling like we are being ripped off.

So if Minister Sousa, is feeling like he is being ripped off, how does he think the rest of us feel?