Bill Walker's reaction to his government's budget
The following release was issued by Bill Walker's office after Thursday's provincial budget was delivered ~
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker is pleased the first budget of Ontario's Government for the People delivered April 11 by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli protects critical services, and contains absolutely no new tax increases, while providing $26 billion over six years in relief for individuals, families, and businesses.
"Budget 2019 focuses on protecting what matters most - our world-class health care and education systems. We need to make sure the people of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound are protected for generations to come," said Walker. "This is also a plan that puts people first, while making Ontario open for business and open for jobs."
The 2019 Ontario Budget is a comprehensive and sustainable plan that balances the budget in five years, stimulates job creation, and protects critical public services that people rely on every day. With this plan, the Province is ensuring value for money and targeting spending to frontline services, while eliminating the deficit.
The signature initiative of the budget is the proposed Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit. The CARE tax credit would be one of the most flexible child care initiatives ever introduced in Ontario, putting parents at the centre of the decision-making process. CARE would help low-and middle-income families with up to 75% of their eligible child care costs per year, including those for daycares, home-based care, and camps.
Another key item in the budget is dental care for low-income seniors. At least two-thirds of low-income seniors do not have access to dental care - and many end up in our emergency rooms as a result. The government is investing $90 million starting at the end of summer 2019 to establish this new program to help Ontario's low-income seniors. Our government has also made a commitment to add 15,000 long-term care beds in five years including 91 new beds for Southbridge Care Inc. in Owen Sound.
Budget 2019, also commits the government to working with hospitals to implement approximately 60 major projects under construction or being planned across the province and says this about the proposed new hospital in Markdale: "construction of a new replacement building to include 24/7 emergency department and outpatient services."
"I'm thrilled to see the Markdale Hospital project directly mentioned in our budget. This has been a long-time coming for our community," said Walker.
To help get Ontario moving, the government is also making the single largest capital investment in subway builds and extensions in Ontario's history. It is committing $11.2 billion to support four rapid transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area, including the Yonge North Subway Extension, the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, and a new subway, the Ontario Line. More importantly, it is investing millions of dollars into Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, including $3.8 million for community transportation needs, $5.7 million through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, $8.3 million in one-time money to improve local service delivery and efficiency and millions in support through the ongoing Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund.
Other key initiatives in Budget 2019 include a new Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive to help businesses grow and create jobs, a "Digital First" strategy to modernize Service Ontario's top 10 transactions and other government services, and a new auto insurance plan that puts drivers first.
"The 2019 Ontario Budget is showing the world that our government is serious about fiscal sustainability, protecting what matters most and making Ontario the best place to invest and create jobs," said Fedeli. "The Budget marks a new beginning for the Province that respects tax dollars, makes life more affordable, and ensures the government works for the people, and not the other way around. This is the approach of Premier Doug Ford and his Government for the People."