TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 1, 2014) - Today's provincial budget will mean cuts to public services, warned Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, following today's budget announcement at Queen's Park.
"This budget gives to the left hand by taking from the right," said Hahn. "It raises taxes on wealthy people who can afford to pay more, but doesn't restore corporate tax rates. The result? New spending will be paid for by cuts to other services."
Successive Ontario governments have reduced corporate tax levels. Today, by the government's own admission, the combined federal and provincial tax rates for corporations are lower than in any other province or U.S. state.
"Years of corporate tax cuts have left Ontario with a revenue deficit," says Hahn. "Ontario already has the lowest corporate taxes since the Great Depression, and only by restoring those rates and ensuring corporations pay their fair share can Ontario build the public services and infrastructure that will drive growth and prosperity."
Rather than address the revenue problem, successive Liberal budgets have instead cut services. Today, Ontario has the lowest program spending and raises the lowest total revenue per capita among all Canadian provinces.
"This budget pits the needs of some Ontarians against the needs of others. It takes the right direction on retirement security, but freezes real health funding, so we'll see more hospitals losing beds like we did in Smiths Falls," said Hahn. "Addressing low wages is important, but it should not be done by shutting down services, like we're seeing at Children's Aid in Brant - closures that leave vulnerable children in danger."
Because successive budgets have failed to keep up with population growth, inflation and rising need, communities across the province are seeing programs shut down, facilities closed and front-line service providers eliminated.
"More people are starting to feel the effects of successive budgets that starve services. Parents won't get the help their kids need at school, families will continue struggling to find good care for aging parents, communities will lose social services and people will be stuck on growing wait lists," said Hahn. "The Liberals will point to the good things in this budget. But unless the corporate tax levels are changed to restore tax fairness, Ontarians will lose services they rely on."
CUPE is Ontario's community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on in every part of the province every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.