The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is at it again. It says it doesn’t like government grants, even when they go to companies that are creating jobs. Instead, it wants tax cuts.
The federation is angry that the federal government is lending Toyota $59 million and Ontario will give the automaker $42.1 million. While I am not a fan of non-union jobs, the money will go towards Toyota’s planned $421-million investment in plants in Cambridge and Woodstock.
The federation thinks that helping Toyota is a dumb thing to do. That’s because the federation has only one solution to stimulating the economy and creating jobs. It wants tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts. But tax cuts won’t give us the society that most Ontarians want. Ontarians want good hospitals and schools. And they want smart and good government that is run by capable public employees. You don’t achieve these goals by tax cuts.
In today’s world, the reality is that we cannot have a healthy and job-creating private sector without a healthy public sector. The two go hand-in-hand.
Despite this, the federation says job-creating grants are bad and that tax cuts are good. If that were true, we would have one of the healthiest economies in the world. Canada’s corporate tax rate is one of the lowest of the industrialized nations. Ontario’s tax rates are some of the lowest in North America.
So where are the good jobs? A good job pays the worker a living wage. A good job gives families a sense of security. A good job gives young people confidence in the future. But instead of good jobs being more plentiful in Ontario, they are increasingly scarce.
When it comes to spending government revenues, Premier Kathleen Wynne manages to find money to help Toyota, but claims that the cupboard is bare when it comes to public employee salaries.
Wynne thinks that attacking government employees will help Ontario become prosperous again. So she is privatizing government services. She wants to do to Hydro One what Mike Harris did to Highway 407. The 407 is no longer part of Ontario’s infrastructure. It has become an obscenely expensive facility that caters to Ontario’s richest one per cent.
The government increasingly relies on public–private partnerships to build necessary infrastructure. According to the province’s auditor-general, the taxpayers’ watchdog, these so-called P3’s have cost Ontario taxpayers more than $8.2 billion in extra expenses.
Public sector wage freezes won’t stimulate the Ontario economy. With their wages frozen, public employees will buy less of the goods and services produced by their private sector colleagues.
The Wynne government is wrong to make punishing public employees the foundation of its economic planning. Doing that simply hurts everyone.