QUEEN’S PARK – Tuesday’s surprisingly weak 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, Ontario PC MPP Jeff Yurek said today.
“This is the time for tough and responsible fiscal management,” Mr. Yurek said. “Yet today’s budget is a weak and disappointing response to Ontario’s jobs and spending crisis.
“What really upset me was Minister Duncan blaming every imaginable factor for causing the deficit except the government’s imprudent spending habits. The reality is, in the last eight years, the McGuinty Liberals have doubled a debt that took 23 governments before them to accumulate. They have a spending problem and they refuse to acknowledge it or accept responsibility.”
Despite the calls for restraint, the McGuinty Liberals have increased spending in 14 out of 24 Ministries. These measures ensure Ontario’s budget will be three times the size of all other provinces combined.
Other troubling budget content includes:
• A 2011 deficit that actually increased over the previous year – and doesn’t decrease for another year
• 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
MPP Yurek said it all shows that 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.”
As a result, Yurek said, the Premier has simply “kicked the can down the road again” despite a looming $30 billion deficit.
Mr. Yurek noted that months ago, Leader Tim Hudak set out a “stress test” to provide principled opposition with 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
“There is no need for Ontario to be condemned to a $30 billion deficit and continued stagnant economic growth,” Yurek said. “That’s why I will continue to promote our positive Ontario PC plan to get our economic fundamentals back in shape, as we have been doing every day since the last election.”
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