Time To Put The Brakes On Overspending: Hudak
29 August 2012
“It’s not often that a sitting government says flat-out that it has to stop doing what it once did quite happily, but that’s where the Liberals find themselves…”
- Scott Stinson, The National Post, August 28, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario can send a positive signal to the world that it has a plan to get its fiscal house in order and its economic fundamentals right, but only if the government commits to no new spending through to a Fall Economic Statement that actually starts to bring spending down, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
“This government can’t yet bring itself to spend less,” Hudak said. “But at a minimum, surely it can commit to not spending more, as it’s been doing ever since the last election, when they were told by Ontarians to stop the first time,” Hudak said.
Hudak made the comments as he further detailed the Ontario PC Freeze, Fix and Reduce package for putting a stop to the reckless overspending that has earned the province three credit downgrades and kept it on the path to a projected $411 billion debt by 2017.
“Over the past nine months alone, the list of unaffordable spending commitments has grown as long as your arm,” Hudak said, citing a budget for “tough times” that actually hiked spending in 14 of 24 Ministries, a $425 million tuition grant, a $120 million home reno tax credit and $190 million just to cancel a politically inconvenient gas plant.
“Not to mention the billions wasted on the Ornge air ambulance service and e-Health,” Hudak added. “So I repeat the call I first put to the Premier last November, only to be ignored: We need to freeze program spending now, and a substantive Economic Statement that commits to real spending reductions this fall.”
Proof of the government’s reckless overspending can be found in the top-line of its own budgets since it was first elected in 2003, Hudak noted. “Back then, spending was $80 billion. By last year it had risen to $125 billion. That’s where we’ve got to draw the line.
“Ask Ontarians what they’re getting for all that extra money – as I do almost every day – and they are totally stumped, except to point these days to “performance” bonuses for public sector managers just for showing up for work.”
Still, Hudak said recent events have exposed “a crack in the door” when it comes to this government’s stubborn refusal to rein in spending and start paying down debt. “So we’re going to use the remainder of this session to pry it open – and draw them further down the Ontario PC path toward fiscal sanity.”