A balanced and prudent approach is key to governing

By MPP Toby Barrett

A balanced and prudent approach is key to governing. In my view it boils down to the following – invest in essential public services, return Ontario to a sound financial footing, and return more money to people’s pockets.

To set a target of balancing the budget in 2023 means financial relief to families and individuals, and needed investments in critical public services like health care and education. Over the past year, this measured approach has allowed health care spending to increase by $1.9 billion, and education spending increase of $1.2 billion.

We all know in the Province of Ontario many people are finding it hard to make ends meet.

The best way to help low-income workers is to stop taxing them. Ontario’s low-income tax credit is one of the most progressive tax breaks in a generation, benefiting 1.1 million Ontarians by providing them with relief of up to $850 a year.

Ontario’s child care tax credit is providing 300,000 Ontario families with an average of $1,250 a year and leaving it to families themselves to decide the best way to provide child care for their family. This is in addition to the $1-billion commitment to build an additional 30,000 child care spaces across the province.

As well, the average family is saving $275 a year on fuel and other basic necessities through the cancellation of the previous government’s cap-and-trade carbon tax. Kids ride for free on GO trains and buses, and 100,000 low-income seniors will receive free, publicly-paid-for dental care.

Post-secondary tuition fees have been cut by 10 per cent this year and will be frozen next year to keep more money in the pockets of students and their families.

Our plan to make life more affordable will put $3 billion back into the pockets of people in Ontario this year.

Our government is dedicated to creating a competitive business environment.

Some 98 per cent of businesses in Ontario are small businesses, and they account for one third of all private sector jobs. To date, our government has taken over 100 actions to cut red tape for business. Ultimately, these and other measures are expected to save business $400 million in compliance costs.

As recently announced in Finance Minister Rod Phillips’ Fall Economic Statement, we are proposing to cut the small business tax rate by 8.7per cent. This will save 275,000 small businesses across Ontario, from family-owned shops to innovative start-ups, as much as $1,500 a year. Taken with other measures, we expect to deliver $255 million of tax relief to Ontario small business in 2020.

To date, actions to provide accelerated capital cost write-offs, cancel the cap-and-trade carbon tax, reduce WSIB premiums and other measures are saving Ontario businesses $5.4 billion this year alone.

Our economy is thriving. But a strong economy is not only about the numbers. It’s about building a province where people have the tools and the opportunities to be the architects of the future, where they can keep more of their paycheques, where they can afford a good home, where they can start and grow a business, create jobs and build our province.

By unleashing that potential, we will build a more prosperous Ontario together.

Toby Barrett is MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk