CTV News: City councillor says gas tax credit reversal will cost Ottawa $57 million dollars

Posted April 13, 2019

 

Critics of the Ontario budget say it's a telling sign that the word "alcohol" appears in the document more than 30 times but nowhere is the word "poverty".
 
Hospitals, cities and social groups are analyzing the budget today trying to figure out how it will impact them.  
 
It's 10 a.m. and the only person going through the doors of the Lowertown Brewery on York Street in the Byward Market at this hour is its owner, Steve Monuk with York Entertainment. 
 
The Ford government's plan to allow bars to sell booze now at 9 a.m. -- isn't a big sell here.
 
“We will not open at 9 a.m.,” says Monuk, “It's not going to change our opening hours or change anything we do.”
 
The provincial government's decision to reverse the gas tax credit will change what the city of Ottawa does according to Ottawa councillor Catherine McKenney
 
“We've lost $57 million that we were anticipating in the gas tax,” McKenney says, “That would have helped us to deliver more transit to the city and help us reduce our carbon footprint.”
 
But Ontario's Finance Minister Vic Fedeli says his government's 5 year path to balance is responsible.
 
“We are balancing the budget in a reasonable way that protects health care and education and all core services that people have relied upon,” he told reporters in Toronto.
 
That will come at a cost, though, to both health and education. Over the next 5 years, the health care budget will grow by only 7% while the education budget will grow by 1.3%.
 
“The education system is already in need of investments,” said Sam Hammond, the president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, “and if we don’t keep up with the rate of inflation or the costs to run those programs, it's problematic.”
 
Algonquin College is reviewing the government's plan to tie funding to a metrics system of student satisfaction and career goals, which the college says is something it already measures.
 
“We just want positive change,” says Doug Wotherspoon, the Vice President of Algonquin College, “change that is done well that takes into account we're here to help students get a job and launch the career they're looking for.  We will see if these are positive changes.”
 
College student and mom Virginia Githua is hoping the government's new childcare tax credit will mean positive change for her, as she decides between paying for school or paying for daycare for her 3-year-old daughter.
 
“If this is a way to help that the government can help us get that money back, then this is a positive thing.”
 
At a rally in Ottawa at the constituency office of PC MPP Jeremy Roberts, protesters with ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, struggle to see anything positive in this budget. 
 
 “Giving themselves a 20% pay in housing allowance, while they slash social assistance,” says Blaine Cameron with ACORN, “They don't care about us.”
 
The federal Liberals have jumped on the budget-bashing bandwagon, too, hoping to draw a connection between the Ford government cuts and what a Conservative government under Andrew Scheer would do. 

 

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Article by Joanne Schnurr for CTV News Ottawa

 

 

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