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McGuinty’s pre-election Budget receives mixed reviews

McGuinty’s pre-election Budget receives mixed reviews
The McGuinty Liberals were touting today's budget as one that will assist the province’s economic recovery. However, the budget did not impress the opposition parties as both PC Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath expressed their displeasure with Duncan’s plan.

Cornwall - Mar. 29, 2011 - Today at Queen’s Park, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan presented his final budget prior to the upcoming October provincial election. The McGuinty Liberals were touting this budget as one that will assist the province’s economic recovery.

“Two years after the worst global recession most of us have ever known, the Ontario economy is turning the corner and jobs are coming back. A well-educated and healthy workforce strengthens Ontario’s economy and attracts investment and jobs,” said Duncan.

Education budget highlights include the creation of 60,000 more post-secondary spaces and the announcement that 50,000 Ontario children will attend full day kindergarten starting in September 2011. Health Care items included a breast cancer screening process that will assist 90,000 more women and a new program to tackle children’s mental health issues.

In terms of the provincial deficit, Duncan announced that it is $3 billion lower than the government had forecasted twelve months ago. The Finance Minister also spoke about reducing the size of the public service, the shutting down of old and under-utilized prisons as well as the establishment of a Commission on the reform of the province’s public services.

The Liberals also announced that “Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth provides more than $4.8 billion of business tax relief over three years, including reducing the statutory Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate for large and small businesses and eliminating the small business deduction surtax.”

“I am pleased to see our government’s continued support for health care and education,” said Jim Brownell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “The McGuinty government is placing top priority on creating jobs and building a stronger economy.”

The budget did not impress the opposition parties and both PC Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath expressed their displeasure with Duncan’s plan.

“After eight years, it’s clear only two things are guaranteed with Dalton McGuinty - he will raise taxes and increase spending. I know it. Ontario families know it. It’s Dalton McGuinty’s routine: break promise, tax, spend, repeat”, said Hudak.

The Progressive Conservatives are quick to point out that McGuinty has added more to Ontario’s debt than any other Premier, despite bringing in the largest income tax increase (health tax) and the largest sales tax increase (HST) in Ontario’s history. During his eight years in office, Dalton McGuinty has increased government spending by 70 percent, during which time Ontario’s economy has grown by just nine percent.

The New Democrats feel that the budget is yet another setback for recession-weary families still struggling to find jobs and cope with ever-increasing bills.

“While the Premier pats himself on the back, families are scrambling to cope with higher electricity bills, rising prices at the gas pumps and an unfair HST that makes life less affordable than ever before”, stated Horwath.

The NDP had proposed to give families financial relief by permanently taking the HST off hydro and home heating bills, and replacing across the board corporate tax cuts with targeted tax measures to create jobs.

Ontarians go to the polls on Thursday October 6, 2011. South Glengarry Mayor Jim McDonell and Winchester business person David Guy have announced their intentions to seek the PC Nomination. The SDSG PC Nomination meeting will be held on April 9th, 2011 at Tagwi Secondary School.

The Liberal Nomination is now wide open with the recent announcement that current MPP Jim Brownell will not be seeking re-election. To date, former Cornwall Councillor Mark MacDonald, retired St. Lawrence Collage Director Pat Finucan and community activist Denis Sabourin have announced their intention to seek the Liberal Nomination. No date has been announce for the Liberal meeting.

At this point, there are no announced candidates for the other parties.

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