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Big-spending budget fails Perth-Wellington, Pettapiece says

April 27, 2017

(Queen’s Park) – Today the Ontario Liberal government presented its 2017 budget. Finance minister Charles Sousa calls it “balanced,” but many are calling that claim laughable.

“It’s a fake balanced budget,” charged Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece. “They’re pulling every trick in the book, and they’re doing it for one reason: to revive their sagging poll numbers.”

The official opposition believes the Liberals are hiding an operational deficit of more than $5 billion through cash grabs, unauthorized pension assets, and one-time and unusual revenue.

“Their numbers today are no more trustworthy than their promises at election time,” Pettapiece said.

He also pointed to the Liberals’ fire sale of Hydro One and their decision to re-mortgage energy contracts to the tune of $25 billion in added interest payments.

“The biggest losers of this budget will be our grandchildren,” Pettapiece said.

Provincial debt is pegged at $312 billion this year, or roughly $22,000 for every Ontarian. It is projected to grow to $336 billion by 2019-2020. Net debt has tripled since the provincial Liberals came to power.

Despite all that spending, Pettapiece remains concerned the government is largely ignoring key local priorities.

“For years, local municipalities have asked for stable, predictable funding for the infrastructure we need,” Pettapiece said. “We also need better services for people with developmental disabilities.”

The budget did promise free drug coverage for some, but with no clear plan to pay for it, Pettapiece said.

“Meanwhile, our hospitals and rural health care services are not getting the support they need,” he added. “And they cut the agriculture budget by $47 million.”

He welcomed the government’s call to increase the number of long-term care beds, but questioned why the government is now doing the opposite.

“Long-term care beds have already been taken out of our area, and many more are at risk of leaving,” Pettapiece said. “Considering the dollars they say they are investing, we have yet to see results in Perth-Wellington.”

Recently it was reported that the Liberal government has been using a favoured Liberal-connected polling firm to test public reaction on policies such as raising the HST, cutting OHIP coverage for certain services, and more.

Prior to the budget, the Ontario PC Caucus called for a real plan to pay down debt; scrapping the Green Energy Act; putting an immediate moratorium on school closures; and reining in executive salaries.

“Today’s budget did none of these things,” Pettapiece observed. “Therefore I cannot support it.”

Budget link: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/ontariobudgets/2017/