Ontario Budget, 2015

[No, I did not gather this stuff up at Yuk-Yuks]

common sense

This may be the only LRT that we can afford
This may be the only LRT that we can afford

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The talking heads at Queen’s Park along the government side of the legislature just rolled out their economic plans and, swear to God it is much funnier than any stand-up comedy routine that I have come across for years.

What’s inside the little red recipe book being waved around by the province’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa  you may ask?  Cutting to the chase, here’s what it’s all about.  They decided to do something about government debt.  You remember the debt scenario?  It’s the one that the (too long in office) Lieberals promised everyone that they were going to deal with. 

And they did deal with it.  Remember as you digest this that Finance Minister Charles Sousa  continues to assure everyone that he and his Lieberal caucus colleagues will wrestle down the province’s $288,000,000,000 (that is BILLION) debt by 2018.  To the uninformed, that debt amounts to over $23,000 for every man, women, child and fetus in Ontario. It is a worrisome enough situation that this week, Ontario Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk just released a 600 page critique of how this government continues to add to the problem.  The most recent budget just added another $10,600, 000 to the debt load by way of yet another deficit (or shortfall).

It (the runaway debt load and pattern of repetitive deficits) is causing pause for concern in the investment community from which comes the loans by which these debts and deficits are financed by way of bonds.  These patterns have caused national and international credit rating agencies to once again down grade Ontario’s credit rating.  The resultant reaction to such downgrading is that lenders continue to demand higher interest rates on loans made to finance the debt.  Lysyk observed that already, the province of Ontario is spending more on interest payments than on post-secondary education.  That is pretty grim.

Some of the items contained in Finance Minister Charles Sousa concoction  border on comical while other items suggest that saliva tests may be appropriate for the entire Lieberal caucus.   On the comical side, we have their attempts to deal with taxpayers’ long standing complaints about spiraling auto insurance costs.  Do you recall that issue form the last election campaign. They (the Lieberals) were going to do something about it.  Here it is!  If you put snow tires onto your vehicle, your insurance company will reduce your annual premium. 

A quick check at the Canadian Tire web site will tell you that you can purchase a set of four medium quality winter tires for about $600 (plus various taxes and installation costs).  Is Finance Minister Charles Sousa really trying to convince anyone that (name the) insurance company is going to reduce your car insurance by $600?  A check of the donor lists of contributions made to the Lieberals by the various insurance companies and the Insurance bureau are telling me that you won’t be getting a $600/year rate reduction.  This past winter, there were less than two months when sufficient snow fell as would result from any safety benefit from winter tires.  But, give Finance Minister Charles Sousa credit, his thinking on this one seems to be perfectly consistent with the Lieberal overall scheme of things: spending equals saving.   It is much like a marijuana addict reverting to medical marijuana to solve his/her addiction to grass/pot.

They also rolled out a ten year, $130,000,000,000 (yes, that’s BILLION) infrastructure plan to inflict various transit schemes on Toronto and Hamilton areas. I doubt that the hard working factory workers or farmers in south-west Ontario would agree to such extravagance.  Again, it may be wise to look at the donors list from the past Ontario election and keep an eye on which mass-transit suppliers will benefit from that boondoggle. 

It (the budget) contains enough stupidity and bad policy to sicken anyone willing to study the budget.  A special note for seniors and those on Ontario’s drug benefit program.  Note: you may recall mutterings during the past election campaign about reigning in the cost of prescription drugs.  To those of us on fixed incomes, and those in the every growing senior citizens demographic the cost of prescription drugs is a big item household finance.  Finance Minister Charles Sousa new budget will be increasing the user’s out of pocket cost. 

Just some facts about the state of Ontario’s financial affairs – and it is not good news.  Think about it next time these folks knock on your door and ask for a vote.  The Ontario teachers fell for the Lieberal promises last election and actually backed the Lieberals up by way of directives to rank-and-file teachers.  If you have not been following the news, already three major school boards are dealing with teacher strikes and ALL Ontario elementary teachers are poised for a province wide strike.

We all have to get to stop asking/demanding things that are “nice to have” instead of “must have”. Things such as LRTs (light rail transit) are fanciful thinking but inappropriate given the state of the province’s economy.

Just my musings on a bad budget.  You can’t put lipstick on a pig and by so doing make the pig anything other than it is; a pig with lipstick.


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