Cautionary tale

Avoiding a foreseeable race to the bottom

Here is a cautionary tale for Ontarians from the New York Times about two ‘failed states.’ These are not African or Asian broken countries run by local dictators. These two failed states are in the United States: Kansas and Louisiana.

  • Both bought into the tax cut = prosperity nonsense being peddled here in Ontario;
  • Both states were bamboozled into a belief that slashing taxes would somehow spark an economic boom, and expand the state economy, which of course never happened;
  • Both Kansas and Louisiana saw their state revenues plunge;
  • Both states cut education, social and health programs that benefit lower and middle income earners;
  • Neither state was able to invest in essential infrastructure: roads, bridges, schools, energy; post-secondary education;
  • In both states, the wealthy took the tax cut money and ran.

How did it all work out?

In middle-America Kansas, the state legislature came to its senses, and undid the tax cuts to restore some of its ability to provide services and maintain infrastructure. Kansas is slowly recovering.

Louisiana remains mired in state legislative gridlock. This week, the Louisiana state governor ordered some 100 of the state’s bridges closed permanently because they are now hazardous, and in danger of collapse.

Read for yourself


Stuff we need

Your extra stuff = our essentials

What’s taking up space in your basement, your garage, your office or your storage area?  It could be exactly what we need to equip our Campaign Office and our people as we wage our 2018 election campaign in Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville.

Our Campaign Office is in Meadowvale. Click or touch here for location and contact details. Please phone first before visiting during April.

Click or touch here for a list of what our election campaign normally uses.

  • If you have furniture or equipment we need, and would like to lend it to us, we’ll take good care of it, tag it as yours, and return it right after the election;
  • If what we need is something you can give to us, and its value is measurable, we will give you a tax receipt, valid for your 2018 income tax return next year. It is based on the fair-and-reasonable value of what we use or borrow from you.

Perhaps you have a working fridge you’d like to see the end of. We need one. Often, people give it to us on the condition that it be recycled after the election, and we pick it up from you. And if you want it back, it will be returned right after the election in clean condition.

For information, call Campaign Manager Tom Lewis at (905) 542-3725 That is (905) LIBERAL on a telephone keypad.

 


Infrastructure Surplus

Yesterday’s money into tomorrow’s assets

More than 3,500 Infrastructure projects across Ontario are newly-complete, still under construction, or awaiting construction start, part of a multi-decade $190 billion plan to renew essential assets, supporting an average 125,000 jobs each year through the end of the 2020s. Nearly all were planned and started during the recovery, and financed with debt capital.

Province-wide, Ontario has redeveloped (and continues to improve) its electricity generation and transmission system. Ontario-wide, some $50 billion has already been spent giving Ontario reliable, clean, affordable, safe and domestic electricity for more than the next two generations to come.

See what Ontario’s borrowed capital build, is building and will shortly build in Mississauga and Brampton. Click or touch here.

Debt-financed projects and investment spurred a renaissance in advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, especially in Meadowvale. The financing to put it all together has brought the GTA to a financial-sector par with London, UK. After Hollywood and New York, the GTA is the 3rd largest film and entertainment hub on the continent. Ontario’s clean energy and environmental industry has grown from near nothing to a high-value, export-oriented industry employing 50,000 people today. GO service to northwest Mississauga has more than doubled in 15 years.

Build now or postpone until later?

During the 1970s and 1980s, Ontario invested very little, often nearly nothing, in renewing roads, bridges, electricity, hospitals, transit, schools, universities and public facilities. At the turn-of-the-century, there was a big backlog of catch-up work to do.

Borrowing to renew essential bricks-and-mortar means that the costs of what people will use for upwards of half a century are locked-in at yesterday’s prices, and financed over their lifetime at interest rates close to zero. This means that the children and grandchildren of today’s adults will benefit from the wisdom of their parents building them the facilities yesterday they will use as they grow and mature tomorrow, and they will pay for it as they use it. Tomorrow’s costs are thus not dropped completely on today’s users, and tomorrow’s users pay their share of long-term assets as they use them during their lifetimes.

Failing to borrow today (as many U.S. states have done) to build what society will use today and for two generations leads to an infrastructure rather than a financial deficit. It means higher costs tomorrow for new, renewed and replacement infrastructure that must be built at tomorrow’s prices and financed at higher interest rates.

Is Ontario burdening future generations with debt? No. The Province is blessing them with up-to-date assets such as schools, hospitals, roads, public transit, electricity, community facilities, recreation and child care facilities and the other bricks-and-mortar things that everyone uses daily.

To grasp the impact of not borrowing during the last decade, when capital was cheap, labour was available, and the economic impact of the projects kept people working and the Ontario economy growing, see the American Society of Civil Engineers ominous 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. It gives the United States an overall grade of D+, and by 2025, estimates that America will lose: $3.9 trillion in GDP; $7 trillion in business; and 2.5 million jobs for lack of the type of infrastructure Ontario built during the decade since the recession.

Concludes the report on its estimated $2 trillion USA infrastructure backlog: “Congress and the states must invest an additional $206 billion each year.” Ontario has done that, and continues to invest in essential public infrastructure.

The truth about what Ontario owes

  • The effective rate of interest on Ontario’s debt was 7.2% fifteen years ago. Today it is 3.5%;
  • The large majority of Ontario’s debt is in Canadian dollars, and interest is paid to Canadians;
  • Ontario’s net-debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 39% during the recession rate, and is today 37% and falling. Most other nations have rates much greater than Ontario’s and theirs are nearly all rising.
    • Sweden: 41%;
    • South Korea: 46%;
    • Mexico: 50%;
    • Israel: 62%;
    • Germany: 69%;
    • USA: 73%;
    • Austria: 86%;
    • UK: 92%;
    • France: 97%;
    • Spain: 99%.
  • The average Canadian household’s ratio of debt-to-household income is 161% and rising. Ontario borrowed prudently, invested wisely, grew its economy, and is easily able to finance its public debt in an economy whose GDP has doubled in the last 15 years, and is today at more than $860 billion, headed for North America’s next ‘trillion-dollar economy.’ Ontario can easily afford to carry its ‘mortgage;’
  • Ontario’s borrowing has locked in low interest rates over the long term on bricks-and-mortar assets whose price is now fixed for the long-term. Short- and medium-term fluctuations in interest rates will not cause debt service costs to suddenly jump. Ontario bond issues sell out in full, almost immediately;
  • Investment using debt capital has made Ontario the strongest economy in North America; created 814,000 net new jobs since 2008-09, and our northwest Mississauga corner of the Province is the strongest part of the strongest economy in North America.

As your MPP, I was part of those discussions on how to get Ontario through the recession to this turning point, where our deficit has turned into a 2018-19 surplus. I am proud of how well those decisions have worked out, proud of what our Province and our cities have built together with Ontario’s investments; and I would be a part of making those long-term infrastructure investment choices, in those recession circumstances, again.

Why go back to borrowing?

Government borrowing when businesses were not spending was the best way out of the recession. Now that businesses are spending – and profitable – again, should government redirect its surpluses to debt reduction?

There is an argument to make for that. There is, however, a stronger argument from the Ontarians who got through the recession, but don’t feel as if they’ve got further ahead in the process. When, they ask, will it be ‘our turn?’ Governments the world over have lost their legitimacy when they have failed to bring their citizens along with them through the recovery to share the better times.

This was Ontario’s choice: who’s first in line? Should it be the large number of Ontario residents who don’t feel as if their household is better off now that the recession is over; or the banks, large companies and financial institutions who made out very, very well in the past decade as Ontario progressed.

Austerity is a global failure as an economic strategy. It’s a seductive idea that never works. Click or touch to read why.

The Province chose to make life more affordable for the large majority of Ontarians at the bottom and in the middle of the economic scale. In essence, Ontario is investing in the people who will use the concrete, glass and steel infrastructure built during the last 12 years. It involves three years of borrowing for the programs in the 2018-19 Ontario Budget, and three more years to get back to a balanced budget. The Province has got back to balance from structural deficits twice before and will do so, on schedule, again.

What benefits will come from the next few years of borrowing?

Pre-School Child Care
Child care is one of the services whose price has gone up sharply in recent years. Affordable child care can get a working parent back into the work force sooner. The Budget proposes making preschool child care free for children aged two-and-a-half until they are eligible for kindergarten, saving a family with one child $17,000, on average, building on the savings families get from full-day kindergarten.
More Child Care Spaces:
The Budget proposes adding more than 100,000 child care spaces so more families can have more choice for high-quality, affordable child care — and offering additional financial support to families with subsidies for approximately 60 per cent of all new spaces.
Drug and Dental Costs:
The Budget proposes a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to a maximum of $400 per single person, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four with two children, of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses each year, for those without workplace health benefits or not covered by OHIP+ or other government programs. This directly helps people with home-based businesses, are self-employed, or who work on contract
Prescription Coverage for Seniors:
Budget measures would make prescriptions completely free for everyone 65 and over through OHIP+, ensuring that no senior citizen goes without necessary drugs. By eliminating the Ontario Drug Benefit annual deductible and co-pay, this saves the average Ontario senior $240 per year.
Helping Seniors Age at Home:
Home is where most people want to be as they age. A proposed new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program recognizes the costs associated with older seniors living at home. It would provide a benefit of up to $750 annually for eligible households, led by seniors 75 and over, to help them live independently, and offset the costs of maintaining their homes.
Higher Minimum Wage:
With the 2018 rise in the minimum wage to $14 per hour, low-wage Ontarians got back to where their purchasing power was in 1977. Beginning in 2019, they will move forward a bit with a minimum wage of $15 per hour. This benefits nearly one in six workers in Ontario.
Helping Students Afford Post-Secondary Education:
The cost of post-secondary education has climbed all over the world. In 2017, Ontario made college and university tuition free for more than 225,000 students of all ages. Free or low tuition is available for students from low- and middle-income families. Tuition is free for those earning up to $90,000, and students from families who earn up to $175,000 are also eligible for some financial aid. The Budget would make it easier for students from middle-income families or those who are married to qualify for OSAP and get more financial assistance, starting in fall 2018
Easing Financial Burdens on Students:
Textbook costs can be exorbitant. The Budget proposes saving more than 5,000 students more than $520,000 by providing free online textbooks and educational resources through the Ontario Open Textbooks Initiative.

Ford voter-ducking

Ontario Liberals will provide a campaign media bus

(QUEEN’S PARK)—Ontario Liberal Campaign Co-Chair Deb Matthews today issued the following statement in response to news that Conservative Leader Doug Ford will spend the election campaign ducking voters and hiding from media scrutiny:

“Doug Ford is afraid that the more Ontario sees of him and his plan for our province, the less there is to like. That’s why his campaign is ducking leaders’ debates, refusing to commit to releasing a fully costed platform and now, according to recent reports, refusing to provide a media bus. Not once in more than 60 years of modern campaigning history has a major political party in Ontario refused to provide media dedicated transport and routine access during an election. It is an unprecedented effort to hide Ford, conceal Conservative policies and steer their plan for Ontario away from public scrutiny.”

And no wonder when you look at what Doug Ford has to offer. He wants to:

  • Cut 75,000 jobs and billions from vital public services like health care and education;
  • Roll back the $15 minimum wage hike;
  • Cut taxes for big business to match Donald Trump;
  • Eliminate rent controls;
  • End polluter pay and permit large emitters to pay nothing to combat climate change;
  • Sell cannabis in corner stores;
  • Open up the door to restricting a woman’s right to choose.

With a plan like Doug Ford’s, it’s no wonder the Conservatives want to keep it hidden far from sight.

“Our Ontario Liberal campaign is pleased to confirm we will be providing a media bus and daily, unscripted access of both media and voters to the premier. If Doug Ford is unwilling to do the same, he should have the courage to say why not,” Matthews said.


Budget Breakfast 2018

Budget deficit financing = infrastructure surplus

Each year since I have been elected, I have held, or participated with our Mississauga MPPs in, a post-Budget breakfast. In 2018, ours was in Streetsville. At it, a reporter from the local paper asked me several questions about Ontario’s long-term debt. I didn’t answer the question well, and in other places inferred that his account was wrong. It was my memory of what I had said that was wrong. I contacted the reporter, acknowledged my error, and offered an apology. He accepted it.

There are many, many fine local infrastructure projects that the Province has completed, or has in progress, during the past decade in Mississauga, financed with debt capital.

Ontario got solid and tangible schools, universities, hospitals, roads, public transit, community facilities and other ‘bricks-and-mortar’ infrastructure for the money the Province borrowed during the recession.

I remain proud of these recession-era infrastructure projects, and would do them again in the circumstances. Click or touch here to find out about Ontario’s infrastructure surplus that was built with Ontario Budget deficit spending that kept people at work during the recession.


Ontario debt

What did Ontario get for our money?

Note from Bob: I received an e-mail, of the type candidates will likely see in the next two months, from a riding resident who objected to Ontario’s investment of $22.8 million in our local hospitals, feeling that Ontario should have been putting funds of this type toward debt repayment. I thought I would share my response to this type of assertion that Ontario should never have borrowed the money the Province did during the recession, should never have invested it in the economic sectors it did, and should have settled for being ‘second-banana’ to other places.

The Ontario Budget for 2017-18 is in surplus. Ontario’s net-debt-to-GDP ratio of 39 percent is among the smallest in the G-8 and is going down. Everywhere else in the G-8, net-debt-to-GDP is going up. Ontario’s net-debt-to-GDP ratio is lower than it was under the previous government. Only two other provinces have a lower debt-to-GDP ratio. Ontario got back to a balanced budget following the recession exactly on schedule, never once missing (or failing to exceed) its deficit reduction targets in each year since running three successive budget surpluses in the fiscal years ending in 06, 07, and 08. With the 2018 surplus, that makes four budget surpluses since 2003, despite the recession and the $5.6 billion deficit the government inherited in 2003. That’s more than Harris, Davis and Robarts, combined!

When our Liberal government was elected, Ontario’s GDP (gross domestic product) was in the $550 billion range. Today it is $850 billion, and Ontario is on track to become, after California, North America’s second trillion-dollar GDP. That’s sound economic growth. That’s sound investment of Ontario’s money.

Ontario borrowed a lot of money to get through the recession. In contrast to nearly the whole world, Ontario has something to show for it: North America’s fastest-growing economy; a completely renewed electricity system; renewed road networks, hospitals and schools; a continuing $190 billion investment over ten years in essential urban infrastructure; and more incoming overseas investment than California (i.e. more than any other province or state).

  • The GTA’s financial services sector is now comparable to London in size;
  • Ontario’s renewable and green energy industry went from nothing to 50,000 high-value, export-oriented jobs in a decade through targeted investment;
  • Ontario’s life sciences sector is now on par with Switzerland, California and Massachusetts, and much of it centred in this very neighbourhood of Mississauga;
  • Meadowvale now has a booming aerospace sector, rapidly growing in value and high-skills employment year. High-value manufacturing is booming right here in Peel Region and across Ontario. Access to skilled workers is a major concern to our employers, who have challenging and rewarding careers to offer;
  • Ontario’s digital media and film production sector is now third only to California and New York in North America;
  • Ontario’s auto sector received – and repaid with interest – a handsome investment (to GM and Chrysler) during the recession, and now makes the latest-generation of cars for Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Toyota (2 plants);
  • Since the bottom of the recession, Ontario had added nearly 800,000 net new jobs, the vast majority full-time, high-skill, high-value positions because of the type of investment that the Province has attracted.

Ontario could have starved – and lost – the auto sector after 2008, insisted on disinvestment in the name of lower overall debt, and ironically seen a higher net-debt-to-GDP ratio than we have now. Actually, that is precisely what the Conservatives urged the government to do. We would have been a less prosperous, smaller economy, content to be second fiddle to Europe or parts of America. Our government chose not to do that.

Now we are the elephant in the room: the largest economy in the Great Lakes Basin; the highest population of any Great Lakes or Midwest state or province; the most modern infrastructure; the best school and university system; the most preferred place for overseas investment in North America. Welcome to first place!

The average Canadian household is carrying 161 percent of its household income in debt, and that amount is increasing. As noted above, Ontario’s net-debt-to-GDP is a quarter of that, is decreasing, and has been completely refinanced over a period of 30 to 40 years at low and locked-in rates. Ontario is easily able to afford its ‘mortgage,’ and has, over the years, been able to reduce the principal of that debt when it ran budget surpluses.

After a decade in which ordinary people had to wait while the rich got filthy rich, and took their money outside Canada, it’s the average family’s turn for the next few years. As your MPP, investing in the future of our families and households in Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville strikes me as a fair, compassionate and intelligent use of Ontario’s money.

As your MPP, I have been successful in bringing the mandate and money to build Phases II and III to Credit Valley Hospital, and to have worked to more than double GO transit service to northwest Mississauga during my time. I have worked with my colleagues to keep our health care sector growing to meet the challenges of our growing population in Mississauga. I find it astonishing that Conservatives would demand we take the very health care money mature men and women in this community need right now, and give it to bankers, when Ontario can afford to invest it in the health care resources people need right now.

The Tories want people to get their information from sloganeering repositories of ‘alternative facts,’ without any dissonance from what I post on my web site, and carefully fact-check to ensure it is the truth.

Parties and candidates owe Ontarians a detailed plan for the future in this election. The people who elect us owe themselves an open mind to have a serious discussion about our future. The Ontario Legislature’s motto, in latin, is Listen to the other side. Ontarians should keep such an open mind this spring, as we choose our future.

Like what’s in this article? Make a contribution to my re-election campaign. Try $50. You’ll get a $37.50 tax credit on your (next year’s) 2018 tax return. Click or touch here to make a contribution.


Hospital funding

New hospital funding = promises kept

More funding to assist our Trillium Health Partners hospitals to serve us from their three locations: Credit Valley; Queensway; and Sherway Gardens is a big part of MPPs’ ongoing advocacy. With Ontario’s 2017-18 Budget surplus comes the ability to invest in the health care sector with an additional $22.8 million right here in Mississauga. Click the video for more details.

Trillium Health Partners, for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year, will receive an additional:

  • $12.8 million in non-targeted funds, to use to meet rising day-to-day costs, growth funding, and to fund additional procedures;
  • $9.9 million in targeted funds, with includes wait-time funding; priority programs and services; post-construction operating plans; and quality-based procedures.

This means increased Emergency Department volume; more nurses and physiotherapy procedures; longer clinic and MRI hours. It also means more ability to meet next year’s salaries, buy supplies used in the hospitals, pay utility bills, and ensure the hospital staff have all the tools, instruments and supplies they need to treat us when we go to the Credit Valley, Queensway or Sherway sites for treatment.

The 2018-19 budget supplied to Trillium Health Partners by the Province, (i.e. not including the funds from its Foundation and from other sources) will be $767 million.


PC Job Cuts

Making Hudak’s 50,000 lost jobs look soft

The hoary old Ontario PC “efficiencies” slogans sound so enticing. “Anyone can cut four cents on the dollar.” Sounds a lot like another bombastic serial liar who said, “Trade wars are easy to win.” Do you know what “four cents on the dollar” means to the Ontario budget? $6.4 billion in cuts.

Roughly 85 percent of public sector spending (anywhere) consists of wages and benefits. That means about $5.1 billion of firings.

How many people is that? Figure 90 percent of the total cuts will come from rank-and-file workers whose salary and benefits package averages $75,000 per person, and the remaining ten percent from management at an average of $150,000 in wages and benefits per person.

That means the Tories plan to torch the careers of 82,300 rank-and-file public sector workers, and about 10,700 management workers.

  • That works out to about 14,000 rank-and-file government employees in Mississauga alone in the PC Party firing line;
  • Just more than 700 Mississauga families with the principal winner is an Ontario public sector manager would lose their household’s main source of income.

In Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville alone (i.e. the riding of Mississauga-Streetsville) that would average out to about 2,750 rank-and-file of your neighbours who are government workers, and about 140 Ontario public sector managers let go by casting a PC Party vote. That’s just for openers.

That’s what supporting the Ontario PC Party costs a community. That’s not even counting the health care and public transit infrastructure projects cancelled to give the wealthy even more money in mindless tax cuts.

Make a contribution toward sanity in government. Re-elect Mississauga-Streetsville Member of Provincial Parliament Bob Delaney. Make a $100 contribution to our election campaign. You’ll get $75 of that back as an Ontario political contribution tax credit in the 2018 year.

Click here to make your contribution.


Meet Bob

Living room evening discussion

With an Ontario Provincial election approaching, interest in our MPP and Ontario Liberal Candidate increases. Bob periodically attends informal gatherings hosted by people in their homes to discuss what’s on their minds about government. If you live in Lisgar, Meadowvale or Streetsville, and you and your neighbours wish to have an evening chat with Bob, we’ll find you a time that works for everyone.

Click or touch here to e-mail us.

Next ‘cheese and crackers’ meeting

  • Home of Dr. Sabrina Ahmed;
    5236 Forest Ridge Drive (just off Erin Centre Drive)
  • Wednesday March 21, 2018
    7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Per-person charge of $50 to cover expenses.
  • Contact: (905) 542-3725 or e-mail to info@mississaugastreetsville.ca

Tax Receipts 2017

When donations come back to you

The Ontario Liberal Party’s most significant task in the year’s first two months of every year is to issue its annual income tax receipts. You should have received your income receipts for donations you made to the Mississauga-Streetsville Provincial Liberal Association in 2017 by now.

If you have not received a 2017 income tax receipt for an ABC membership or for a contribution you made in 2017 by March of 2018, first call the Ontario Liberal Party at (416) 961-3800. If they have not resolved things, please leave a message for our Mississauga-Streetsville Treasurer, Rob Bezaire at (905) 542-3725.

Donating to Bob’s re-election

Find out how Ontario political contributions work. It takes money. It takes good people. We need them both.