Budget Focused on Job Creation, Economic Growth – Orazietti

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The Ontario Liberals delivered their 2014 budget Thursday and with it comes some increases in smokes and you could see a little less on your paycheck. It also includes investments in job creation to the tune of $2.5 billion and $130 billion for infrastructure improvements. It may all be for not though if Andrea Howath decides not to support the budget and forcing a snap Spring election for the balance of power at Queen’s Park.

Sault Liberal MPP David Orazietti issued the following regarding the 2014 budget.

ONTARIO BUDGET BUILDS ON PROGRESS AND POSITIONS ONTARIO FOR THE FUTURE
Provincial Budget Focused on Job Creation, Economic Growth and Supporting Ontario Families

Today, the provincial government introduced the 2014 Budget, which is focused on investments in job creation, infrastructure and continuing to strengthen vital public services, while staying on track to balance the budget by 2017/18, announced David Orazietti, MPP.

“The 2014 Budget reflects the priorities of Ontarians by making strategic investments in our economy, our infrastructure and our communities that will benefit our province over the long term,” said Orazietti. “Today, our government has presented a responsible10-year economic plan that builds upon the progress we have made over the last eleven years and will position Sault Ste. Marie for continued success.”

The 2014 Budget unveiled new provincial initiatives including:

Public Infrastructure Investments

Investing over $130 billion in public infrastructure over the next ten years, with a focus on hospitals, schools, transit, roads and bridges

Creating the “Moving Ontario Forward” plan, a new, $29 billion dedicated fund for roads, bridges and highways throughout the province. Of the total amount, $14 billion will be available for projects outside the GTA and will be used to accelerate the Northern highways expansion program, which includes the four-laning of routes such as Highway 17

Since 2003, the government has created or repaired over 7,900 kilometers of provincial highways, including over 4,000 km in Northern Ontario. These improvements have enhanced road safety and reduced travel time for Northern drivers

Jobs and Economy

Establishing a new, 10-year $2.5 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund that will strengthen Ontario’s ability to attract business investments and support quality, well-paying jobs

Investing over $295 million over two years for the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy to help young people gain the skills and experience to obtain meaningful employment

Extending the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program (NIERP) to assist Northern Ontario’s industrial electricity consumers with $360 million over three years, and an additional commitment to examine further extending the program. The NIERP program reduces electricity costs by as much as 25 per cent for large Northern industrial users such as Essar Steel Algoma, Tenaris Tubes and Flakeboard Company Ltd.

Continuing to support economic development in Northern municipalities through $100 million in annual funding for the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC). Since 2003, the NOHFC has approved over $897 million, leveraging over $3.2 billion towards 5,933 projects in Northern Ontario. Locally, the NOHFC has helped to strengthen Sault Ste. Marie’s economy with $87 million to support 728 projects, which have created or sustained more than 2,687 jobs

Committing $1 billion for the development of all-season infrastructure in the Ring of Fire, which will support generations of jobs and economic growth in Northern Ontario

Health Care and Education

Providing an additional $11 billion over the next ten years for elementary and secondary education infrastructure

Designating $11.5 billion in major hospital expansions and redevelopments

Investing an additional $750 million by 2016/17 in home and community care services, including $270 million this year so that Ontarians will have access to the right care at the right time, close to home

Investing $6 million in community paramedics across the province so that patients will be connected with the appropriate community supports in a more timely manner

o Amending the Fire and Building Codes in 2013 to require all long term care homes to upgrade their sprinkler systems to enhance the safety of residents

Investing $150 million over three years in new technology and learning tools in schools, so that Ontario’s schools remain the best in the world

Increasing the hourly wage for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) by $4 over the next three years

$269 million over three years to increase wages for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs)

Saving families $6,500 per child per year and providing children with the best possible start in school through full-day kindergarten for four and five-year olds

Since 2003, the province has invested over $14 billion in health care infrastructure. Health care funding has increased by 68% which has improved access to doctors and nurses and has helped Ontario achieve the shortest wait times in Canada for key surgical procedures. The new Sault Area Hospital, two new Family Health Teams, a Nurse Practitioner-led clinic, a new long-term care home, as well as increased access to homecare, are all helping to ensure residents are receiving the care they need close to home

Education funding has increased by 70% locally, reducing class sizes, improving test scores and helping to protect teacher and support staff positions. An additional $130 million has been invested locally to build five new schools, and post-secondary education funding has increased by 80%, with significant investments at both Algoma University and Sault College

Helping Ontario Families

Creating the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan that cost-effectively builds on the Canada Pension Plan in order to enhance the retirement savings of Ontarians

Increasing the minimum wage to $11.00 June 1, 2014 and tying the minimum wage to inflation starting in October 2015

Increasing the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) to $1,310 per child per year, and indexing the threshold to inflation. With the proposed increase, the province will have more than doubled the original benefit, which will enhance the household income of half-a-million families province wide

Expanding access to health benefits such as prescription drugs, assistive devices, vision care and dental care to approximately 500,000 children from low-income families

Expanding the existing Student Nutrition Program to $32 million per year to provide breakfasts for an additional 56,000 children in higher-needs elementary and secondary schools

Removing of the Debt Retirement Charge from household electricity bills, which will save the typical residential user an additional $70 per year

Reducing auto insurance premiums by 15% by August 2015. Rates have dropped on averaged by 5.7% in the last 8 months, and the government is taking steps to reduce auto insurance fraud, which will save Ontarians money

Putting consumers first by strengthening consumer rights and protection legislation. The government has already enacted legislation to reduce cell phone bills and is developing standards and regulations for home inspectors in the province

The government is on track to meet its deficit reduction target for the fifth year in a row, while continuing to make significant investments in public services and infrastructure projects.

“Today’s budget makes investments in key areas including health care, education and other public services that Sault families rely on,” said Orazietti. “The PC’s have already made it clear they will again recklessly vote against the budget without even reading it, and it remains to be seen whether or not the NDP will support a budget that invests in people and builds the infrastructure we need to support a healthy economy. I’m hopeful the NDP will put people before politics and support our measured and thoughtful plan.”

QUICK FACTS

The 2013/14 deficit is projected to be $11.3 billion, an improvement of $0.4 billion compared with the 2013 Budget forecast

Ontario has created 459,500 net new jobs since the recessionary low of 2009

The province is projecting deficits of $12.5 billion in 2014/15, $8.9 billion in 2015/16 and $5.3 billion in 2016/17, with a return to a balanced budget in 2017/18

Ontario has the lowest per-capita program spending among provinces, while still providing high-quality public services