Coming just days after announcing a loss of over 50,000 private sector jobs and seeing Ontario’s unemployment rate jump up to 7.5%, Premier Kathleen reintroduced her re-tread campaign budget at Queen’s Park this afternoon.
“There are no substantive changes to the budget introduced on May 1. This budget is nothing more than a political document and does nothing for the men and women who are out of work all across Ontario,” said McNaughton. “Ontario needs a budget that reduces the tax and red tape burden facing our small and growing businesses; a budget that gets hydro rates, government spending and debt under control and puts us on a path to balance.”
Despite the Liberals’ commitment to balance the budget by 2017-18, the provincial deficit is actually increasing by more than a billion dollars this year to $12.5 billion, up from $11.3 billion last year. The budget also shows Ontario’s debt is increasing by $20.1 billion, while spending is increasing by $3.4 billion.
“Even with the risk of another credit downgrade and further private sector job losses, the Liberals have brought forward virtually the same document as they had previously,” said McNaughton. “If Ontario were to face further credit downgrades and the resulting increase in cost of borrowing, it would have immediate consequences for every single person all across Ontario. The government would need to cut front-line services in order to pay increased interest charges.”
Economist Jack Mintz has calculated a 1 per cent increase in interest rates will add as much as $3 billion annually to our costs which will take money away from health care and education. Interest on the debt is the third largest and fastest growing expense item in the budget.
“This budget continues to take Ontario down the wrong path. I couldn’t support the budget when it was originally presented in May and I cannot support it now,” summarized McNaughton.
Monte McNaughton is the Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament representing the riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. You can follow Mr. McNaughton on twitter: @MonteMcNaughton.