Latest McGuinty budget missing fresh thinking!

Latest McGuinty budget missing fresh thinking, says Ontario Greens
Greens call for efficiency in energy use, health care and finances
Ontario needs fresh ideas and sensible solutions. We are facing financial, social and environmental deficits, and the Ontario Greens believe today’s provincial budget fails to tackle them in a way that ensures our hard-earned tax dollars are spent on important public services, not interest payments.

Interest on debt is projected to be the 3rd largest expense category at 10.3 billion dollars, second only to spending on Health and Education. This is slightly more than the budget for Community and Social Services, and 47% more than spending for Training and Colleges.

In these financially constrained times, the government is proposing across the board corporate tax cuts that we can not afford without alternative sources of revenue. Instead of additional corporate tax cuts, the Green Party supports targeted tax cuts for local businesses to stimulate job creation.
Raising the Employer Health tax exemption for example, is a cost effective way to provide incentives for local businesses to create more jobs. Greens also support targeted tax credits for addressing youth unemployment by increasing support for apprenticeship, mentoring and co-op programs.

It's time for Ontario to implement forward looking, financially responsible tax reforms that promote prosperity in a high energy cost, low carbon global economy. The Green Party supports additional income tax cuts for working families by raising the personal exemption level. Personal and business tax cuts will be offset with a deficit-fighting alternative income stream, from a revenue neutral carbon levy modeled after British Columbia’s popular approach.

Eliminating waste and improving efficiency are top priorities for the Green Party.  For this reason, we are disappointed that the Liberal budget fails to renew the Home Energy Savings Program which has helped over 158,000 households save 6.39 million GJ on their energy bills. This program has also created thousands of local jobs in communities across the province. Investing in energy efficiency and conservation, instead of costly new generation, is the most sustainable way to deal with rising energy prices. This budget contains no mention of funding for conservation or energy efficiency programs.

The budget does not adequately prioritize health care spending on front line community care and senior care, with a focus on illness prevention, to reduce stress on families and hospitals. The Green Party supports increased investments in family health teams, home care and long term care.  In order to sustain our publicly funded health system, Ontario needs to improve the value for money spent on health care.

It’s time for a political party that values creative new ideas that will make better use of our tax dollars. This budget is a missed opportunity to invest in programs that will have lasting benefits to communities and families across Ontario.

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