Ontario must get Its Fiscal House in Order Before it is Too Late
(September 13, 2013) We all want economic stability. Every individual, every family, every business, everyone wants to have peace of mind that they can afford what they need to live comfortably. Sure we would all love to have the extras, but most of us settle for what we can afford and are happy with that.
Governments aren’t any different. Spending beyond our means only digs the hole deeper. Just like a credit card, the more debt we take on, the more interest we pay and the less there is at the end of the day for everything else.
I’ve spoken a lot about the economy and jobs because I feel it’s important to remind people of the dire fiscal circumstances our province is in. I want to ring alarm bells throughout the riding and across the province that Ontario needs to fix our debt problem before it gets any worse, and that starts by putting an end to spending more than we can afford.
Now this doesn’t mean cuts to services like the Liberals and NDP will try to portray. It means less waste, less scandals, more jobs to stimulate the economy, proper management and finding efficiencies.
Currently in Ontario our deficit is $9.2 billion. To reiterate, that means this year we will spend just over $9 billion more than we collect in revenues. In the 2012-2013 fiscal year we paid $10.6 billion in interest payments to mostly foreign lenders to pay for Ontario’s debt. This number is projected to increase by an additional $5.3 billion by 2017.
If you don’t think that’s drastic, compare it to other provinces.
In 2012, Ontario’s budget deficit was three times the size of the rest of Canada’s provincial deficits combined and six times the size of the next closest province (Quebec).
We also aren’t too far behind Greece. Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio is 37 percent, which is the same ratio Greece had in the 1980’s. Greece’s debt was pegged at $383+ billion earlier this year. With our massive deficit and rising interest rates in Ontario, our $258+ billion debt is well on its way.
In ten years, spending under this government has gone from $80 billion to $126.4 billion per year. In this year’s provincial budget spending went up again by an additional $3.6 billion as Premier Wynne introduced 20 new spending initiatives.
We all know that if our credit card is maxed out, we need to stop spending. Yet, despite our bleak fiscal realities in Ontario, the Premier is more interested in purchasing political support and appeasing political interests than doing what is best for our province.
This government just doesn’t get it. Good governments set priorities to ensure that we can afford the things we care about most like healthcare, education and infrastructure.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s debt clock shows that Ontario’s debt is increasing by $371 every second, $22,260 every minute, $1.34 million every hour and $32.1 million every day. As a result, hard working Ontarians are paying for it through frontline cuts to services and increasing taxes.
In recent months we’ve all seen cuts to physiotherapy for seniors and defunding of test strips for diabetic patients, as well as, the introduction of a whole slew of new taxes and fees including the trades tax, the tire tax, eco fees, increased hydro rates, increased WSIB premiums and increases to fees for license plate renewals to name a few.
The future prosperity of families in Simcoe-Grey and the province depends on creating jobs and a strong economy. This government is not doing that.
We need only to look at Greece to see the consequences of a bankrupt Ontario. If we want to avoid mass public sector layoffs and cuts to pensions and front line services then we must get our fiscal house in order before it’s too late.