You may have heard that this Thursday is Budget Day. As our government’s budget approaches, I wanted to share my thoughts on what I expect to see.
I have been elected as Durham’s representative at Queen’s Park for a little over nine months. I remember the 2018 election campaign like it was last week. Our commitment to restore accountability, transparency, and trust is foundational to our plans to build a fiscally sustainable government and protect the critical services we all cherish.
We made promises to put more money in people’s pockets, clean up the hydro mess, bring job back to Ontario, end hallway health care, and restore trust and accountability in government finances – and we have delivered over 200 initiatives to date with those objectives in mind.
In spite of all this positive progress, I have to be frank. The fiscal mess left by the previous government still puts our province’s future at risk. They saddled the people of Ontario with a $15,000,000,000 deficit and $346,000,000,000 in public debt. They recklessly spent $40,000,000 a day more than they were receiving in revenues. Interest payments on the debt are the fourth largest line item in the budget, threatening to crowd out much-needed dollars for our hospitals, our schools, and other vital public services.
It’s an unacceptable burden to leave our children and our grandchildren in Durham, and it is a fiscal and moral imperative that cannot be ignored. If we fail to act now, if we fail to get government spending under control, we will not be able to protect the public services we rely on every day.
That’s why our government put the shovels down and stopped digging the fiscal hole. Through cutting waste, driving efficiencies and bringing government into the 21st century, we have already reduced the inherited deficit from $15 billion down to $13.5 billion. We see signs of economic health returning to Ontario with business confidence rising and tens of thousands of net new jobs created since June 2018.
Based on the latest speeches of the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Vic Fedeli, here is what I expect we willsee in this Thursday’s budget.
I expect Budget 2019 will be a thoughtful, measured, and forward-looking plan that will restore fiscal balance in a reasonable and responsible manner, while protecting critical public services like health care and education. I expect it will aim to put people first and to continue to make Ontario open for jobs.
Contrary to what our critics will say, I expect Budget 2019 will protect and strengthen our public health care system, our public education system, and critical social services. That’s what Ontarians expect of us.
Rather than the people of Durham working and paying more, it’s about time the government started working for you. Together, we can build up Ontario as a place to grow, and a place that is once again the economic powerhouse of Confederation. Together, we can make Durham a better place to live, work and raise a family.
This is the approach I expect will be the cornerstone of our government’s first Budget this Thursday.