Rein In Spending, Focus on Jobs to Boost Local Economies: Hudak
21 August 2012
“…you have to admit (Hudak’s ideas) are carefully thought out and contribute coherently to a multi-layered vision of what a newly prosperous Ontario would look like.”
- Luisa D’Amato, The Waterloo Region Record, July 27, 2012
OTTAWA – Ontario can prosper again, but only if we put a stop to nine years of government overspending – and the resulting huge debt and job losses that put at risk the things we most value in our communities, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak’s appeal for straight talk and bold ideas in confronting our jobs and spending crisis followed a major address today to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) annual conference in Ottawa.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Hudak began. “So today I outlined four key ways we can work with local governments to stop overspending and kick-start job creation.” The first step is a legislated, across-the-board public sector wage freeze at the provincial level, Hudak said. “Second, fix a broken public sector salary arbitration system that awards outsized settlements, regardless of an employers’ ability to pay, assuming that tax increases are always the answer.”
Third, Hudak said, is an end to closed tendering for municipal construction contracts to bring competition to service delivery, which will put downward pressure on costs. “And fourth, an end to unaffordable subsidies for wind and solar energy contracts, which includes giving local governments their voices back in determining where they will be located.”
Urgent action is needed, Hudak told delegates, because the money’s run out: “We’re hurtling toward a $30 billion deficit. Nearly 600,000 Ontarians are out of work. Reckless provincial government overspending is putting priorities in our cities and towns at risk – good hospitals and schools, highways, roads, sewers and bridges.”
These problems aren’t confined to the provincial level, Hudak stressed: “When economic and fiscal challenges like these take root at Queen’s Park, they spread outward to local governments.” At $10 billion annually, if there were a Ministry of Debt Servicing it would be the third largest after Health and Education – and larger than Municipal Affairs, Hudak added.
Bold new ideas like these, and many others like them, will benefit Ontario both provincially and municipally, Hudak said. “We can climb out of the fiscal hole this government has dug for us at the same time.”