March 26, 2014 – On Thursday April 3, Dwight Duncan, former Deputy Premier and Finance Minister for Ontario, will be the keynote speaker at the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series Luncheon and will give insight into the economic issues facing Ontario. The event, hosted by Johnson Inc. will be held at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre, 1011 Bloor Street East in Oshawa.
Mr. Duncan, speaking recently at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce launch of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Stronger 2014 Report, stated that Ontario is fast approaching the fiscal cliff.
“In light of the report released in mid March by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank, finding Ontario is much deeper in debt than California, the poster child for fiscal irresponsibility, Mr. Duncan’s comments will be very timely,” stated Bob Malcolmson, CEO & General Manager of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.
The Fraser report noted that Ontario’s debt is nearly twice as large as California’s—even though the province has far fewer people and a much smaller economy. The Institute compared the bonded debt of both jurisdictions in its report. Ontario’s bonded debt stands at $267 billion while California’s stands at $144 billion. When boiled down to a per person basis, every Ontarian owes $20,166 (Cdn) compared to $3,844 (US) [equivalent to$4,293 Cdn] for every California resident.
The study—Ontario vs. California Debt Burdens—notes that almost 10% of Ontario’s tax revenue goes toward debt interest payments. In contrast, around 2.8% of California tax revenue goes to service the state’s debt. According to the most recent information available, interest costs will represent the fastest growing part of the provincial budget from 2012/13 to 2015/16, increasing at 5.5 per cent annually—more than twice the projected rate of growth in health care expenditures.
So what can be done? Ontario’s path to fiscal responsibility doesn’t have to involve draconian cuts. By merely limiting the growth of government spending, Ontario can back away from the edge of the fiscal cliff.
To read the full report go to fraserinstitute.org or if you would like to hear Mr. Duncan’s perspective on Ontario’s path to fiscal responsibility you can register by going to web.oshawachamber.com/events or call the Chamber at 905. 728.1683.