Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

February 02, 2010 10:12 ET

Provincial Budget Advice: Control Expenses and Stimulate Economic Growth, Ontario Chamber

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 2, 2010) - Increasing economic activity and better managing expenses should be the two key priorities of the Ontario government as it tackles its $24.7 billion deficit, according to the members of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

In a presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, the OCC has urged the government to be prudent in its spending, while continuing to do the things that will generate more business investment and therefore government revenues.

"Our members are concerned about the affordability of governments at all levels," explains Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "While there was support for stimulus spending as a way to boost the economy, economic growth cannot be sustained on the backs of government alone. Creating the right conditions for business investment, while maintaining control of the size of government, will help Ontario return to a balanced budget and slay the threat of long term debt."

Specifically, the OCC has recommended that the government:

  1. Stimulate economic activity by staying the course on the taxation reform package announced in last spring's budget, where possible accelerating its implementation and further reducing personal and business taxes as a way to stimulate the economy.
  2. Create a more competitive business climate through smarter regulation and less red tape keeping in mind that a dollar spent on managing red tape is a dollar less for investment and hiring new people.
  3. Keep spending growth at or below the same rate as the economy.
  4. Conduct an actuarial analysis of healthcare expenditures in order to facilitate long term planning and provide much needed predictability, transparency and accountability.
  5. Develop a 30 year long-term transportation plan in order to plan ahead for a generation, not just five years.
  6. Apply smarter and more efficient spending to all programs across the broader public sector with a mandated competitive bidding process which allows bids from both the public and private sectors.

"Ontario business confidence has surged almost back to where it was in 2007 with 60% expecting better performance this year in their businesses, and a majority intending to invest in hiring new staff, expanding their businesses and increasing their capital investments," adds Crispino. "Our members tightened their belts when the economic downturn demanded it, now they expect their governments to live within their means as well."

The full text of the OCC's Pre-budget submission and presentation can be found at www.occ.on.ca.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is a federation of 160 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the Province of Ontario, representing 60,000 businesses of all sizes, in all economic sectors and from every area of the province. In its mandate to advocate strong policies on issues affecting its members, the OCC is currently focused on economic renewal and business competitiveness. Its over-arching goal is to make Ontario the most competitive jurisdiction in North America.

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