Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2015
2015 budget continues to pile up the debt
(Queen’s Park) – The 2015-16 Ontario budget demonstrates once again that the Liberal Government is simply unable to get its fiscal house in order, says Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.
The net provincial debt is projected to rise to $298.9 billion. The debt number has increased by $14.7 billion since last year. Ontario’s net debt per capita – in effect that amount of the provincial debt owed by each and every man, woman, and child in Ontario because of years of provincial overspending – is up by $870 to $21,642.
“When this Liberal Government first took office, the net provincial debt stood at $139 billion,” said Mr. Arnott. “Under their watch, the debt has ballooned to almost $300 billion. Spending has been out of control for almost 13 years now, and that’s why the debt has more than doubled.”
Mr. Arnott also noted that interest payments on the debt are the third largest and fastest growing line item in the budget, coming in after only healthcare and education. Interest payments are projected to rise by roughly 5.7% each year for the foreseeable future.
“Interest costs are growing so fast that, in effect, they’re taking money from healthcare to pay the interest on the debt,” Mr. Arnott stated.
In addition to the Government’s continued inability to balance the budget, Mr. Arnott, who serves as the Ontario PC Critic to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure, argued that the budget demonstrated yet again that the Liberals do not know how to grow the economy.
“Last year, this Government introduced plans to implement a new Ontario pension plan. This year they announced cap and trade. Their policies are driving up hydro rates. Each year they’re making it more and more expensive to do business here in Ontario. And yet they seem mystified as to why so many jobs are leaving the province,” said Mr. Arnott.
In the weeks leading up to the budget, the Ontario PC Caucus had outlined five key items that they wanted to see in the budget: a decision to abandon the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, no carbon tax, a plan to fix homecare, a serious, credible, and detailed plan to reduce the deficit by 2017-18, and a commitment to reduce energy prices.
“They completely ignored our constructive suggestions,” said Mr. Arnott.
However, Mr. Arnott noted the Government’s decision to reverse course and re-establish the Connecting Link program more than two years after they blindsided Ontario municipalities by cancelling it without warning.
“The cancellation of the Connecting Link program two years ago caused a huge problem for
municipalities,” Mr. Arnott pointed out. “I’m glad that they’ve finally reinstated it.”
However, Mr. Arnott noted that the $15 million the Government has allocated for the restored Connecting Link program still falls far short of the $25.3 million municipalities received from the program as recently as 2007-08.
Ultimately, Mr. Arnott believes that this budget is not the budget that Ontarians are looking for.
“This is not the budget that Ontario needs,” said Mr. Arnott. “We need a budget that makes a serious effort to rein in spending while investing in sensible priorities. We need a budget that presents a clear, honest plan to balance the budget by 2017-18. We need a budget that encourages job creation, not one that drives jobs away. I do not have confidence in the budgetary policy of this Government.”
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