Creating new opportunities and making life more affordable
An Open Letter from MPP Laurie Scott
When our government was elected last June, the province of Ontario was spending $40 million more per day than it was taking in. Although we knew the state of the province’s books was bad – we didn’t know the full extent of Liberal mismanagement. The independent line-by-line audit discovered that the actual deficit figure was not $6.7 billion as claimed by the Wynne Liberal government – but $15 billion (which we have since reduced to $11.7 billion). That is a massive figure, but it is still dwarfed by Ontario’s total debt of $325 billion – the highest sub-national debt in the world.
Restoring fiscal sanity to the province and ensuring the sustainability of core government services for future generations requires sacrifices to be made. Although we are taking a reasonable and measured approach to deficit reduction, certain programs and services that are failing to provide maximum value for taxpayers’ dollars are being modernized.
Haliburton County has one of the highest proportions of seniors in Ontario. Also, I know that many local residents struggle to afford housing, home heating, electricity, transportation, and food. Many constituents have expressed their frustration that the cost of living always seems to rise, while their income stays the same. We are working to change this.
Two of our government’s top priorities are encouraging the creation of good-paying jobs, and making life more affordable for families and seniors.
As Minister of Labour, I have been focused on creating good-paying jobs by making Ontario one of the most competitive labour markets in North America. Our reforms included in the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, and Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act are working – Ontario has created over 91,000 net new full-time jobs since last December.
By reducing unfair red tape and giving job creators greater confidence, we are helping to create new opportunities for local workers. In our region, 1,500 net new jobs were created in April and the year-over-year unemployment rate fell from 6.8 per cent in April 2018 to 6.2 per cent in April 2019.
We know that when we create new opportunities, and make life more affordable – everyone wins.
Our government repealed the cap-and-trade carbon tax that was increasing home heating bills, and gas prices. Unfortunately, the Trudeau federal government instituted their own unaffordable and ineffective carbon tax, which we’re currently battling in court. We know that the carbon tax disproportionately and unfairly hurts rural residents, such as those in Haliburton, who have no choice but to drive and have limited options for home heating. We introduced a made-in-Ontario climate change plan that will meet our Paris Agreement targets – without a costly and ineffective carbon tax that hurts rural Ontarians.
Many families have also told me about their difficulties finding affordable child care in Haliburton County. In Budget 2019, we introduced the CARE tax credit, which will provide up to $6,000 per child in relief from child care expenses. The benefits from the CARE tax credit will be targeted to those families who need it the most – the median Haliburton County household with an income of $58,125 would see a 75 per cent reduction in their child care expenses. More affordable child care will also empower more women to enter the workforce.
Additionally, minimum wage earners will pay no provincial income tax for the 2019 tax year as a result of our LIFT tax credit. Individuals earning less than $38,500 and families earning less than $68,500 will also see a reduction in their provincial income tax.
Our recently introduced Housing Supply Action Plan will help create more affordable housing opportunities by making it easier to build new housing across the province, including in Haliburton County.
Over the next six years, we will provide over $26 billion in tax relief to Ontario families, businesses, and seniors, and balance the budget. This is a responsible approach that protects what matters most, while addressing the affordability challenges that many families and seniors in our region are facing.
MPP Laurie Scott
Haliburton – Kawartha Lakes – Brock