Living Within Our Means Requires Respect For Taxpayers

April 5th, 2013 by Community Office

ST THOMAS – MPPs Jim Wilson and Steve Clark joined Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek to host a roundtable discussion with municipal leaders regarding the PC proposed Capacity to Pay Act.

“For 10 years, the current government has made decisions that have put the fiscal health of our province at risk,” Yurek said. “A leading example is the broken arbitration system that forces unaffordable settlements for municipal government workers on taxpayers.”
The resulting wage bills are putting important services at risk – like fire trucks, police cruisers and health care services, Yurek added. “And a large part of this is due to arbitrators that neglect to consider the capacity of local taxpayers to pay for wage increases.”

The Ontario PCs’ pending Capacity to Pay Act would put a stop to that attitude in three ways, Yurek explained: First, settlement decisions must reflect the state of the local economy, like unemployment and condition of the area tax base – and explain how they have done it in writing.

“Second, decisions must meet tight timelines to enable municipalities to budget properly. And third, a Capacity to Pay Division will be created to compare wage information from across the economy, and to publish decisions as they’re handed down.”

Yurek noted the Capacity to Pay Act has the support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Yet the last time the PCs tried to pass a law making the changes they need, it was voted down by the Liberals and NDP.

“A PC government will ensure Ontario has a government we can afford. The only way to change the direction of government, ignite job creation and protect the things we care about the most, is to change the team that leads Ontario.”

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