As Ontario Finance Minister, Vic Fedeli prepares to unveil the fall economic statement, the people of Ontario need to know whether or not he is prepared to deal with the government’s significant revenue problems, says CUPE Ontario’s Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick.
“Seniors in long-term care are suffering, sick people are being left on gurneys in hospital hallways, families don’t have access to the child care they need, and many school age children are not getting the level of support they need in the classroom. These are just a few of the issues the government has to fix,” said Rennick. “And Minister Fedeli can’t address these serious problems through supposed efficiencies and budget cuts – he needs to improve the government’s revenues so that the necessary investments can be made.”
“Fedeli may not want to admit it, but Ontario doesn’t have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem and that’s the real story behind both insufficient service levels and the province’s deficit,” Rennick said.
Rennick points out that in Ontario, corporations used to pay the same share of taxes as individuals, to fund the services and programs our communities need to thrive. The corporate tax rate has been slowly reduced over the past several decades and now people pay 3.5 times more than corporations. At the same time corporate profits have soared while people’s wages have flatlined and most Ontarians struggle with debt to cover their basic costs.
“If Minister Fedeli and his government are really ‘for the people,’ he needs to address the real cause of the province’s financial problems and that’s the free ride big corporations are being given when it comes to paying taxes,” Rennick says.
Rennick also raised concerns over speculation that the government will try to implement bargaining directives in an attempt to balance the books on the backs of workers.
“We’ve already seen the Ford government go after the lowest paid workers in the province and make cuts to social service programs meant to help people rise out of the cycle of poverty. So far, we’ve seen a government agenda that is making life harder for people and easier for their corporate friends,” says Rennick. “We really hope tomorrow’s economic statement doesn’t continue down that road. We hope Minister Fedeli has the courage to really do what’s right for Ontario’s working people and their families. It’s time big corporations start paying their fair share again.”
For more information, contact:
Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638, www.cupe.on.ca