Muskoka To-DAILY

MPP Miller says province’s slight of hand hiding $5 billion to ‘balance budget’

QUEEN’S PARK — Norm Miller isn’t buying the Liberals’ claim about being in the black again.

“This supposedly balanced budget is a one-time offer because they have no plan to really achieve balance over the long term,” says Norm Miller

“This supposedly balanced budget is a one-time offer because they have no plan to really achieve balance over the long term,” says Norm Miller

He says in a release following this week’s provincial budget that: “Despite the government’s claims to the contrary, Ontario’s 2017 budget just isn’t balanced,” said Norm Miller, MPP for Parry-Sound Muskoka.

He claims that in order to make it appear that they kept their promise to balance the budget this year: “The government relied on $1 billion from the sale of Hydro One and other one-time payments.

And, he adds, “against the advice of the Auditor General, the Minister of Finance (Charles Sousa) counted $500 million in pension assets that the government cannot spend.

“All totaled, these things add up to $5 billion,” he says in the release.

“This supposedly balanced budget is a one-time offer because they have no plan to really achieve balance over the long term,” said Miller.

“And they certainly don’t have a plan to start paying down the debt which has more than doubled to in excess of $300 billion under their watch. That is more than $20,000 for every man, woman and child in Ontario.

“Ontario is having trouble affording the services we already offer, never mind delivering on all these new promises,” said Miller.

“I would have preferred to see the minister announce sufficient funding for existing programs like stroke care and Healthy Smiles, the program that offers dental care for underprivileged youth. I hear from lots of constituents who can’t get service under either of those programs because they are underfunded.”

This year Ontario will pay almost $12 billion in interest on the more than $300 billion debt, says Miller, who adds $12 billion would go a long way towards properly funding existing programs and new programs.

“It is unfortunate we can’t afford all the promises they made in the budget because some of the ideas are good, like helping family caregivers and allowing people on ODSP and Ontario Works to earn more money without being penalized,” said Miller.

“And helping our students learn the skills they need for today’s workplace, something Patrick Brown has been advocating for. I could support those initiatives but I can’t support a budget that is based on the false premise that it is balanced.”

The government did promise to increase funding to Ontario hospitals by three per cent this year (just over the two per cent inflation rate), but Miller says he wants to hear from his hospitals as to whether that is enough to manage their ever-increasing hydro bills and other expenses.

While Charles Sousa made a lot of promises in his almost 50-minute budget speech, he didn’t once mention the Ring of Fire or say anything to boost investment in Ontario’s mining sector, says Miller, who say in fact, in order to help create the appearance of a balanced budget, the Northern Development and Mines budget was cut by $70 million or almost 10 per cent.

“The Wynne government is being very short-sighted in cutting funding to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and not developing of the Ring of Fire. According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the first 10 years of development of the region it would generate nearly $2 billion in government revenue, money this government desperately needs.”

Short URL: http://www.muskokatodaily.com/?p=27422

Posted by on Apr 29 2017. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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