New study shows alternatives to Ford government cuts

These alternatives would bring down the deficit and leave most Ontarians better off than the cuts the Ford government is proposing.

Ottawa (10 April 2019) — A study from the Ontario office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) shows that there are alternatives to the cuts to health care, education and other public services that the Ford government is planning. According to the report, Ontario Has Options: Alternative fiscal paths for the 2019 budget, there are alternatives that would allow public services to be maintained and improved. These alternatives would bring down the deficit and leave most Ontarians better off than the cuts the Ford government is proposing.

Ford government breaking promise not to cut services

In the 2018 provincial election, Ford and other Progressive Conservatives promised that no public sector jobs would be cut if they were elected. But, Ford’s slash and burn approach is breaking that promise.

Layoffs are affecting frontline services. Teachers are being laid off as class sizes are increased and special education is cut. Hospital nurses are being laid off — even though the Ford government promised to eliminate hallway medicine.

The wealthy aren’t affected by these cuts. They’ll send their kids to private schools or jet off to private hospitals in other countries. It’s low- and middle-income families who rely on public services who will pay the price.

Making tax system fairer would reduce the need for cuts

The intention of the CCPA report is to show that there are alternatives so both revenue and spending proposals reflect what has already been costed, rather than prescribe a specific proposal. However, what is clear from the report is that tax fairness will reduce the need for cuts.

Among the alternatives the CCPA report suggests are measures like closing loopholes and increasing corporate taxes. These help reverse the effects of tax cuts by successive provincial governments that have allowed large corporations to pay less than their share in tax.

Increasing revenue avoids damage deep cuts do to economy

When governments make deep cuts to spending the economy suffers. This happened in Ontario in the late 1990s. The economy was just starting to recover when cuts by the Harris Conservatives slowed things down again.

As government revenues drop when the economy slows down, there is a good chance deep cuts to public services will fail to save money to reduce the deficit. In contrast, the alternative from the CCPA shows how services can be protected, while keeping the deficit under control.