Michael Gravelle – “This is certainly representative of how a minority government can work…”


Michael Gravelle MPPTHUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle states, “The Ontario government has reached an agreement that would make the Budget even better, accelerate the plan to reduce the deficit and contains no net new spending. Under the terms of the agreement reached reached yesterday with the opposition NDP, the richest Ontarians — those who make more than $500,000 a year — would be asked to pay a two percentage point surtax on their incomes”.

“This is certainly representative of how a minority government can work and work well. By working together we have been able to make a strong budget even stronger, including increased support for people on social assistance, additional support for northern hospitals, and through the NDP surtax, we are asking those who earn more to help more as we eliminate the deficit,” Minister Gravelle added.

The Liberals state, all of the new revenue generated — some $470 million next year — would go directly into deficit reduction. The NDP surtax would be eliminated when the Budget is balanced in five years.

The Budget will also include a $20-million transition fund to benefit Northern and rural hospitals to help them achieve efficiencies so that more of their precious dollars go into patient care. Ontario Works rates would also be increased by one per cent in the fall of 2012. Funding for these measures would come from savings realized elsewhere in the Budget. The government is also proposing enhancements to the Budget’s freeze on executive compensation.

These latest measures are in addition to further steps to improve the Budget announced last week which include:

  • Additional funding to the child care sector, which will be found within the Ministry of Education’s existing budget;
  • A further cut to the price the government pays for the most popular generic drugs. This would generate enough savings to raise Ontario Disability Support Program rates and Ontario Works rates;
  • Merger of the Independent Electricity Systems Operator and the Ontario Power Authority, saving ratepayers $25 million a year.

“The 2012 Budget takes strong action to eliminate Ontario’s deficit by 2017-18 while protecting health care and education, all of which is essential to creating jobs and growing the economy.” concludes Gravelle.

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