Yesterday’s report by Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer demonstrates that after 12 years in power the Liberals have learned little about the distinction between revenue and spending, says the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“The Liberals believe we can maximize revenue by cutting into public spending,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “It just doesn’t work that way; in fact it only widens the projected deficit as Ontario’s FAO pointed out in his report.
“There’s a vast pool of revenue that remains untouched simply because the Liberals under Kathleen Wynne don’t want to upset their cronies on Bay Street,” said Thomas. As evidence, he urged the province to restore the corporate tax rate to 2009 levels, and abandon its reckless dependency on public-private partnerships (P3s) which, according to last year’s Auditor General’s report, has cost Ontario more than $8 billion based on 73 projects studied.
“Those two moves alone would help generate more than $50 billion in revenue over 10 years. Instead of misleading the public by saying they’ll balance the books by 2017-18 (a target which the FAO says is nearly impossible to meet), the Liberals should act boldly by restoring the corporate tax rate and abandon its misguided and costly reliance on P3s.”
In his report today, Stephen LeClair said the government is overestimating its three-year revenue projections and underestimating its spending projections. The result, he concluded, is that the provincial government will produce a $3.5 billion deficit by 2018.
Thomas said the government’s relentless campaign to reduce public spending is a convenient, if deceitful, camouflage to mask its refusal to generate revenue through corporate tax hikes and by eliminating P3s.
“Even the government itself acknowledges that Ontario’s spending on public services is the lowest per capita among Canada jurisdictions,” said Thomas. “Our fundamental shortcoming is our failure to recover revenue where it is most plainly evident.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas