Mr. Speaker, I rise to present Ontario's 2011 Budget.
Ontario is turning the corner to a better tomorrow.
Five consecutive quarters of growth, higher business
investment and a resurgent manufacturing sector are all
evidence that the global economic downturn is behind us.
Jobs and growth are returning to our economy as we embrace
innovation and continue building the best education system in
Strategic investments in education and health care lay the
foundation for a future with more jobs, increased productivity
and a better quality of life for all our families.
Mr. Speaker, this Budget builds on our government's plan to
return Ontario's finances to balance while protecting the gains
we have made together.
More Jobs in a Stronger Economy
Our government believes that strong public services are essential
to a strong economy.
Good schools and hospitals strengthen the economy by making our
people more productive and our businesses more competitive.
In turn, a strong economy creates jobs and supports education and
Ultimately, this results in a better quality of life.
And that, Mr. Speaker, is how we, as a government, measure
That is why we have been working so diligently to build schools,
hospitals and infrastructure.
Our job is to ensure that Ontario businesses have the tools they
need to build opportunities.
Ontario's Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth is making businesses
more competitive and is strengthening investment.
We cut the tax rate on new business investment in half, making
Ontario a much more attractive place for businesses to invest and
With our tax plan, a software publisher in Ontario will pay
58 per cent less in provincial corporate and sales taxes.
For a restaurant, it's 67 per cent less.
For a manufacturer, it's 89 per cent less.
This makes it easier to do business in Ontario.
Companies big and small are already responding by leading the
country in new investments in equipment and technologies.
Investments by the private sector in buildings, machinery and
equipment rose by 7.4 per cent in 2010.
At the same time, research by economist Michael Smart finds that
about two-thirds of business savings from the Harmonized Sales
Tax (HST) had been passed through to consumers within only
six months after the HST was implemented.
Mr. Speaker, Ontario has significantly decreased costs for
employers, and there is more to do to ensure we become even
Jobs are coming back to Ontario.
So far, we have recovered 91 per cent of the jobs lost during
Statistics Canada tells us 84 per cent of those jobs are full time.
The United Kingdom has recovered less than 40 per cent of the
jobs lost during the recession while the United States has recovered
less than 15 per cent.
Mr. Speaker, Ontario's plan for jobs and growth is working.
Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by an estimated
2.8 per cent in 2010 and all private-sector forecasters expect
The average private-sector forecast calls for Ontario economic
growth of 2.6 per cent in 2011 and 2.8 per cent in 2012.
That means Ontario's economy is turning the corner.
To be prudent, our plans are based on growth assumptions
below those of the private sector.
Therefore, we are projecting GDP growth of 2.4 per cent in
2011 and 2.7 per cent in 2012.
In our first five years as a government, we worked with
Ontarians to repair and rebuild the province's neglected
schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, roads and bridges.
Our government also eliminated the $5.5 billion deficit we
inherited and delivered three balanced budgets in a row.
Mr. Speaker, we did what was necessary to put our province on
a stronger competitive footing and create more opportunities
As part of the global effort to stimulate the economy during
the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,
our government, like those everywhere, ran a deficit.
We invested in infrastructure, created and protected hundreds
of thousands of jobs, and took steps to make our economy
Others would have slashed services essential to a growing
We chose to protect education.
We chose to protect health care.
We chose to protect investments in infrastructure.
Others would have cut people loose.