Tay Report May 21, 2012
On April 23, Ontarians were handed a budget “deal” that actually increases taxes and spending in the face of a looming $30 billion deficit. This is called “digging a deeper hole.”
Two days later, Standard & Poor’s – one of the major credit rating agencies – put Ontario on credit watch, from “stable” to “negative”. For anyone still wondering why I voted against the budget, there’s your answer. It doesn’t do what the Liberals say it does.
Still, the budget is just another setback under the Liberals. Ontario can still have a bright future. But to get there, we need some straight talk about where we are.
We’ve got big problems: The money’s run out. It’s been a long time coming under this government. But it was made worse when the Liberals chose the wrong path after the last election, when faced with two directions: The first path called for action to reduce the size and cost of government and build a dynamic growing private sector to create jobs. This is the route Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus called for.
The other path maintains the status quo. It accepts anemic growth and chronic unemployment. Worse than having no jobs plan, this budget actually throws up barriers to job creation by increasing taxes on entrepreneurs. This means the government remains on course toward tripling our debt. Yet this is the path the Premier chose.
The way I see it, Ontario has all kinds of advantages to build on, to take us in a new direction. A skilled, motivated workforce; lots of people who think, invent, create, grow, mine, forge and build products and services in demand around the world; Bountiful natural resources, and a prime location in the heart of the North American marketplace.
We’re missing just one key ingredient – leadership on jobs and our economy. We need a different path. Yes, we need to reduce the size and cost of government. But you can’t “cut” your way to prosperity. We need to grow our private sector to create jobs too.
We need to plan for the unexpected as well, like a sudden spike in interest rates. Today these are at record lows and have nowhere to go but up. A mere one percent increase in borrowing costs would result in an additional $500 million needed to service our debt. This would wipe out fully one quarter of the savings targets contained in the budget. It could pay for a quarter of a million MRI exams, as just one example. But under this budget, it would go to line the pockets of international lenders instead.
These are just a few examples of a government that just doesn’t get the seriousness of the situation. But Ontarians do. We’ve been down before. But with new ideas and the commitment to make them work, we can come roaring back again.
Until then, if you’re still wondering why we didn’t wade into the post-budget soap opera, I hope this provides a little context. There are enough people digging Ontario into a hole. We weren’t about to contribute more shovels. Put another way, no amount of tinkering would have fixed this budget. We cannot afford to sit and debate small change, when what we need is big change, to ensure we can afford the things people really care about – like dependable health care and excellence in education.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to my Bi-Annual FISH DINNER AND SILENT AUCTION on Saturday May 26, 2012, at the Brian Orser Hall in the Penetanguishene Memorial Community Centre. The fundraiser is in support of the Penetanguishene Sports Hall of Fame. Tickets are $20.00. For further information you may call 705-549-8273.Hope to see you there!