FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2015
OFL Says Ontario Budget Sells False Choices
(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) said the Ontario Budget sells Ontarians short by choosing privatization over tax reform. The result will be a damaging and irreversible legacy that entrenches the economic divide, erodes public services and leaves a poorer province for future generations.
“Premier Wynne’s budget sells more than just Ontario’s public assets, it sells false choices,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “She is telling Ontarians to choose between public transit and public hydro; municipal infrastructure versus hospital closures; good jobs or a balanced budget. It is a sort of budgetary ‘Hunger Games’ that pits public priorities against vital public services instead of addressing the most obvious choice: asking corporations and high-income earners to pay their fair share.”
In its pre-budget submission, the OFL called on the Wynne government to use public investment and tax reform to ensure that prosperity is shared, get more Ontarians working and build a fairer society.
The OFL called attention to the 370,000 Ontario children who live in poverty; the one million workers who earn at or near the minimum wage; the one in five Ontarians who receive help from a food bank or charity; and the nearly half of all residents in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton who are working in precarious, part-time and insecure employment. All of this stands in stark contrast to Canada’s highest paid CEOs, who today make 171 times the average Canadian income at a time when Ontario corporate tax rate is the lowest in North America.
Simply restoring corporate tax rates to 14 percent, cracking down on tax cheaters and removing exemptions in the Employer Health Tax could inject an estimated six billion into infrastructure, jobs and anti-poverty initiatives each year. However, today’s budget does little more than tinker with the symptoms of poverty and inequality rather than addressing inequities in the tax system that are at the root of the crisis.
“Wynne sold herself to Ontarians as the ‘Social Justice Premier’ but she has presented us with a budget drafted by bankers, for bankers,” said Ryan. “This budget has identified many important problems but it arrives at all the wrong solutions. Ontario needs long term, stable and reliable revenue to protect valuable public services and to lift people out of poverty,” said Ryan.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.
For further information:
Sid Ryan, OFL President: 416-209-0066 or @SidRyan_OFL
Joel Duff, OFL Communications Director: 416-707-0349 or email@example.com