QUEEN’S PARK – The government presented the 2018 Budget on Wednesday. Contrary to commitments made in prior years, the government intends to run a deficit, increasing the total provincial debt load, while at the same time opening the spending taps and raising taxes.
“The scale of the mismanagement of our provincial finances in this election year is staggering” MPP Jim McDonell commented. “Every recent day brought more spending promises with no fiscal backing, as if the government realized, 15 years into their term, which they had missed the mark on so many policies and made Ontarians’ life worse. Not only are we spending $1 billion a month in interest in 2018, but the government is raising taxes in a desperate attempt to conceal just how large a hole they have burned in our balance sheets. Pre-election spending promises are out of control, there is no plan for future sustainability, and average Ontarians are told to foot the bill. The only relief Ontarians can see in this Budget is that it will be Kathleen Wynne’s last one”.
According to the Auditor-General, the budget’s financials fail to properly account for certain assets and liabilities such as:
- $860 million in pension assets that the government can’t claim as theirs, but do so regardless
- $1.3 billion in unrecorded liabilities at the Independent Electricity System Operator
- All the borrowing and costs associated with the Fair Hydro Plan.
The Budget included, among others, promises to raise social assistance rates, institute free childcare between the ages of 2.5 and kindergarten, a re-announcement of 5,000 new Long Term Care beds, the abolition of deductibles and copays for seniors’ drugs and increased funding for mental health services. Debt service costs will exceed $12 billion per year, making debt interest the fourth-largest expense in the Budget on par with advanced education and social services.
“These promises ring hollow, it is a devil-may-care budget, a desperate ploy by an unpopular government to win an election in just over two months’ time” MPP Jim McDonell stated. “Fifteen years of broken promises have shown Ontarians that no public service is safe while a Liberal is in power. The only Budget promise this government will keep is that of more debt and more costs to our children. The best investment for our children’s future is a fiscally responsible and sustainable Province. On June 7, we are ready to deliver that change”
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