Election looming after budget tabled?

Thursday, May 01, 2014   by: Jeff Turl

Nipissing MPP and finance critic Vic Fedeli slammed the Liberal provincial budget Thursday as a "tax and spend budget" that targets the middle class.

"This is not an economic plan for Ontario," he told "This is nothing but a collection of spending promises."

Tory leader Tim Hudak has already rejected the document, now all eyes turn to NDP leader Andrea Horwath. Her support is crucial if the minority government is to survive.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has given Horwath one week to make up her mind.

The NDP leader didn't show up at Queen's Park, and her members "sat on their hands", said Fedeli and refused to vote on the first reading.

"That's very puzzling," says North Bay Mayor  and former MPP Al McDonald. "Traditionally everyone votes in favour just to get it into the system."

McDonald is also dissatisfied with the budget.

"I'm very concerned," he said.

The government plans to make further cuts to the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund.

"We got $8 million last year, and that was a cut of $600 thousand, which is a 1% tax increase. We expect to see at least that much clawed back again, and that impacts our taxpayers directly. We're not pleased with that."

The Mayor is also worried about increasing social assistance costs as the province will force local taxpayers to foot more of the bill.

McDonald also isn't happy that provincial infrastructure money is still on a lottery system that gives money to municipalities that are "fiscally challenged" ahead of those that are fiscally stable.

'We didn't get a dime last year because we were fiscally responsible," he added.

NDP candidate-elect Henri Giroux hadn't had a chance to see the budget when contacted, but said it was his understanding that Horwath was going to study it overnight and make a comment Friday.

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