THUNDER BAY – Looking at the provincial budget, Bill Mauro says it is a plan for all of Ontario. The plan is to continue to bolster the economic recovery, and protect healthcare and education according to the Thunder Bay Atikokan MPP. In terms of specifics for the region, Mauro is pleased that there is another $10 million being added to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. Mauro states that the fund was at $60 million annually and now it has increased by a total over the past four years to $100 million.
“It would have been easy to pull that funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund,” commented Mauro. “That is what the NDP did. Instead our government has continued to add to the fund”.
Thunder Bay-Atikokan Progressive Conservative candidate Dr. Fred Gilbert is very disappointed with the Liberal-delivered budget. “The Liberal government has not responded to the growing inability of families to meet the increasing costs of living that are the result of policies put in place by the Liberals,” stated Gilbert. “Today’s budget provides nothing new for the north , just referring to the Northern Growth Plan, the Far North Act, and offering little to compensate for lost jobs from closed mills in the forestry sector”.
Gilbert says “The largest disappointment is the lack of tax relief for families to compensate for high energy costs and the HST tax burden imposed by the McGuinty Liberals. “This budget offers no solutions. This budget stands on the ground the Liberals have created, and that ground is unstable.”
Gilbert warned that “The indebtedness of the province will continue to grow until 2017. We have a situation where the Liberal government continues to deficit budget and when interest rates go up, debt servicing between now and 2017 will eat into the government’s capacity even to maintain existing services.” Gilbert adds that this is why it is vitally important that PC Leader Tim Hudak’s current Bill, The Agencies, Boards and Commissions Sunset Review Act, pass through the legislature. “Rising interest rates in the province have the potential to become Ontario’s fiscal tsunami, caused by our ever increasing debt load.”