McGuinty Government's 2007 Budget
Expands Opportunity in the GTA
New $2.1 Billion Investment in Children
and a Return to Balanced Budgets
Brampton, ON March 26, 2007 - The Province's fourth Budget expands opportunity for all Ontarians by investing in our children, continuing to strengthen education, health care and infrastructure and balancing the budget, local Brampton MPPs Jeffrey, Dhillon, and Dr. Kular announced.
"We have begun to turn the corner on tackling child poverty. This budget respects families- we recognize there are serious challenges, but we've made a significant investment that shows a commitment to deal with poverty," said Linda Jeffrey, MPP Brampton Centre.
The 2007 Ontario Budget is giving families the support they deserve to participate in Ontario's prosperity. The first way the McGuinty government is helping families is through a $2.1 billion program that would help nearly 1.3 million children. The new Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) would be available to all children under the age of 18 in low-income families, and would help ease the transition to work for parents receiving social assistance.
"This budget has a profoundly positive impact for Brampton. We are making Brampton stronger than ever through new proposed investments, like transportation, health care, training for new Canadians… you name it we have not left anyone behind. I am also extremely proud of ending the GTA social service pooling," said Vic Dhillon, MPP Brampton West-Mississauga.
In addition to the OCB, the McGuinty government's investments proposed in this Budget to help children and families include:
Increasing Ontario Disability Support and Ontario Works benefits by two per cent; Increasing the minimum wage to $10.25 an hour in 2010; Enhancing child care through an additional $25 million in 2007-08 and $50 million in ongoing support in 2008-09; Launching new affordable housing initiatives; Giving pensioners access to their money by allowing them to unlock 25 per cent of their locked-in funds and permitting pension income-splitting for senior couples; Increasing benefits by 2.5 per cent each year for three years for 155,000 injured workers; Making legal aid more accessible to the most vulnerable citizens in Ontario by investing an additional $51 million over the next three years starting in 2007-08.
"The 2007 Ontario budget is a strong investment in our communities. Not only are schools and hospitals receiving the support they need, but; our seniors and low-income families will also benefit. Further, our injured workers will be benefiting from the 2.5 percent increase per year. This is a balanced and responsible budget for the people of Ontario. I feel positive with our current and future outlook," said Dr. Kuldip S. Kular, MPP Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale.
The 2007 Budget, which contains no tax increases, projects a balanced budget for 2006-07, the second in a row, eliminating the $5.5 billion deficit inherited in 2003-04.
Specific investments in the Brampton/Mississauga community proposed in the 2007 Budget include:
Ending GTA social service pooling, saving GTA property taxpayers more than $200 million when fully phased out; $315,000 in funding for the Salvation Army, Brampton Honey Church, Family Life Resource Centre; $250,000 in funding for the Sikh Heritage Park and Museum; $899 million in 2007-08 for Southern Ontario's highway network; $30.6 million for 905 Regions from the public transit trust for infrastructure; $100,000 Brampton-wide funding for International Seniors Club of Brampton.
The 2007 Budget includes proposals to enhance the fairness of Ontario's property tax system and to cut high Business Education Tax rates.
It also announces $125 million in immediate environmental initiatives, including home energy audit grants and funding for the Trees Ontario Foundation, enough to plant more than one million trees. The government will also allocate more than $200 million over the next three years to fund further climate change initiatives.
The $125 million and the $200 million for further climate change initiatives come from Ontario's $586 million share of a federal trust for clean air and climate change and build on existing and ongoing provincial initiatives.
The 2007 Budget also continues to make significant investments in health care, education, and infrastructure, including:
$37.9 billion in health care spending in 2007-08, including $89 million this year, to help fulfill the government's commitment to hire 8,000 nurses, and $135 million to further reduce wait times, including wait times for paediatric surgery; $18.3 billion in grants to school boards in 2007-08, up almost $800 million from last year; $4 billion in operating grants to colleges and universities in 2007-08, plus an additional $390 million to assist with such things as classroom space, higher enrolments and more training; $5.9 billion in infrastructure investments in 2007-08 for transit, highways, electricity, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities and rural infrastructure.