Ontario budget offers cuts for workers, a trip to the trough for investors: OPSEU

TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Today's Ontario budget offers more cuts to jobs and wages for most public employees but invites private investors to boost their profits at public expense, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

"The moves in this budget to boost wages for some low-income workers are certainly welcome and long overdue, but we cannot support more cuts to real public sector wages when they are lower on average today than they were in 1992," OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said.

Thomas also objected strongly to Finance Minister Charles Sousa's plan, confirmed today, to boost private financing of public services and infrastructure projects and privatize more services. He called on NDP leader Andrea Horwath to force an election over this "wholesale transfer of wealth from the public to the corporate sector."

"Ontarians have no interest in paying their taxes to Bay Street," Thomas said. "[Ontario Premier] Kathleen Wynne does not have a mandate to contract out the entire province behind a smokescreen of new expenditures."

Cuts to Corporate Income Tax rates and the Capital Tax under the Liberals are now costing public coffers $4.4 billion a year, but the budget proposes a mere $50 million in extra revenue from corporations, Thomas noted. "The revenue measures in this budget are nowhere near adequate to deal with the challenges we face. This is no time to be coddling big corporations."

Ontario has both the lowest revenues and the lowest program spending per capita of any province in Canada, the budget says.

"Minister Sousa brags that the Liberals are running a lean government, but compared to other provinces it's not lean, it's a skeleton," Thomas said. "At a time when Canada's corporations are sitting on $626 billion in cash, it's ridiculous not to use some of it to fund the services Ontarians need."

SOURCE OPSEU

For further information:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931