2019 budget a ‘thoughtful, measured and forward-looking plan’ as Ontario gov’t tackles world’s largest sub-national debt

S-D-SG MPP Jim McDonell. Nation Valley News file photo

Last Week at Queen’s Park

by MPP Jim McDonell

With the unveiling of the much-anticipated first provincial budget by Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli, the government has presented a thoughtful, measured and forward-looking plan featuring no new taxes.

This plan is based on four specific objectives: address the province’s mountain of debt; restore fiscal balance in a responsible and sustainable manner; protect what matters most – health care, education, and critical public services; and make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.  This is a plan that puts the people first.

From day one, the government has been focused on allowing Ontarians to keep more of their hard-earned money.  That is why one of the first acts of the government was to end the cap and trade carbon tax which took 4.3 cents a litre off at the gas pumps and made most goods and services more expensive.  There are no tax increases in this budget. The government of Ontario is working hard to make life more affordable for our citizens.

According to figures from the Finance Ministry, Ontario’s debt of $347 billion is the largest sub-national debt on the planet. The previous government was spending $40 million a day more than it was taking in. Interest payments on debt are the fourth largest line item in the budget, after health care, education and social services.

Every dollar spent on interest in one less dollar going to our hospitals, schools and critical infrastructure.  This is an unacceptable legacy to leave our children.

The plan released by the Finance Minister will help put the province’s finances back on track.  Under this plan, the budget will be balanced within five years while investing significant money in provincial priorities.

Investments that will benefit Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry include the recent announcement of $3.8 million to help find smarter ways to deliver services, as well as expanding the Francophone Community Grants Program to better support local and regional development. Cornwall commuters will also benefit from the federal-provincial transit funds of over $13 million for qualifying projects.

The Ontario government is helping parents with up to 75 percent of eligible child care costs per year, including those for daycares, home-based care, and camps.  Low-income seniors will also have access to dental care by an investment of $90 million establishing a dental care program.

The federal government’s carbon tax remains a risk on our economy.  The Ontario government is taking steps to ensure that taxpayers are aware of how much this tax is costing its residents, whether it’s at the gas pumps or on your home heating bills.  Overall, the carbon tax is going to cost Ontario families an additional $648 in extra costs per year.

We are restoring accountability, sustainability, and trust in Ontario’s finances.  This Budget marks a new beginning for the province that respects tax dollars, makes life more affordable, and ensures that the government works for the people and not the other way around.

Please feel free to read the 2019 Ontario Budget in more detail at Ontario.ca/Budget.

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