The 2012 Ontario Budget was released this afternoon. Not much to like, based on the comments rolling onto social media pages. Some excerpts – Yours to Discover – whether you like them, or not.
Strong union reaction – protest rally proposed
Ontario unions are reacting strongly after the Liberal government tabled a budget on Tuesday that suggested freezing wages and scaling back pension contributions for public sector employees.
Warren Thomas, president of OPSEU, called the budget a "shameful disaster."
Stewart Kennedy, president of the Ontario Medical Association, said the province needs to invest more in health care and commit to a "fair" negotiation process.
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association said it consulted with the government and advised them to look at saving costs within the Ministry of Education's bureaucracy rather than ways that will impact classrooms.
Kevin O’Dwyer said teachers will continue to negotiate their contract in good faith but slammed the government for threatening them with legislative action.
The Ontario Federation of Labour is taking immediate action to voice their displeasure with the budget publicly. The OFL is organizing a rally titled "We are Ontario: A day of action demanding prosperity, not austerity."
A news release issued Tuesday afternoon said more than 100 unions would be represented at the rally which is set to take place on Saturday, April 21, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
NGOs and students groups are also expected to take part in the rally. The budget called for reducing education costs in Ontario by merging school boards, shutting down schools, capping the high school credit limit and cutting back on funds to expand post-secondary schools.
Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP – the political party mostly favoured by unions, told reporters Tuesday afternoon she wasn't sure if she would vote against the budget or not.
Liberal government is counting on you to drink and gamble more.
Queen’s Park is looking for hundreds of millions of dollars more in revenue from expanded gaming and booze sales as it struggles to balance the books by 2017-18.
The McGuinty government has told the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation it has to come up with $3 billion more over the next five years while the LCBO is being tapped for an additional $200 million over the next couple of years.
The OLG plans an aggressive initiative to expand opportunities for Ontarian to gamble in one form or another, from online betting to increasing the number of lottery outlets and gaming outlets.
What you earn determines what health care you give up
High-earning seniors – the government says the top five per cent – will pay a deductible of $100 plus three per cent of their income over $100,000 on their prescription drug costs. Senior couples with a combined income of more than $160,000 will pay a $200 deductible plus three per cent of their family income over $160,000. The change will take effect in August 2014.
Cuts to tourists , cops and kids
Seven of the province's travel information centres will be closed due to a drop in visits in recent years.
The province will move to trim OPP overtime costs by $3.5 million a year over the next three years and delay a plan to replace police cruisers.
Children’s Aid Societies, which take care of kids, are expected to pare $16 million from their budgets.