There were many positive items in the latest Ontario budget, including the increase in post-secondary education spending for facilities and research. We applaud the funds being set aside for job training and jobs programs. These measures should help our hard-pressed manufacturing sector, which will also gain from the elimination of the counter-productive Capital Tax.
CATA is also pleased that the municipalities are being recognized, as we have long insisted that our cities are the key to our growth.
The cap on regulations should be a big help for businesses, and marks government’s realization that it needs to administer public policy by attending to outcomes-based accountability rather than reaching for new rules and controls. CATA has a program underway to obtain government consensus for this approach.
If we had one area where we think Ontario could be working harder, it would be in the field of business taxation. We are disappointed that the new budget did not include corporate tax reduction, and a Value Added Tax (VAT) system. Ontario needs to work harder on lowering its tax regime, especially for new business investment, in order to stimulate business spending; this move could actually increase government revenues over the longer term.
In the future, we would like to see special recognition given for the fact that we live in a Services economy, which is dominated by the growth in our high-tech sector. Services are responsible for 70% of our GDP and 76% of our employment. By focusing our attention on the service sector, Ontario can once again join the competitive upper ranks of its North American competitors such as New York and Massachusetts.