Ottawa families and businesses alike will benefit from the provincial budget, the MPP for Ottawa-West Nepean said Thursday.
“This is a pro-business and pro-community budget,” Jim Watson said after it came down. “We’re trying to offer a balance of tax relief investments in health, education and social programs, with a massive infusion for everything from OC Transpo to recreation centres in Ottawa,” he said.
Watson, who called the budget “very progressive, very thoughtful and prudent,” said 93 per cent of city taxpayers will pay less personal income tax.
The province is also investing a record amount of infrastructure money over the next two years. Although it remains to be seen how much the nation’s capital will receive, “we’ll see tens of millions of dollars flowing into Ottawa for roads and houses and transit,” he said.
But Mayor Larry O’Brien said the city still needs to see more details before they give the budget a positive or negative review.
He welcomed social housing and infrastructure funding, but said a lack of details about the Harmonized Sales Tax, proposed for April 2010, has raised concern. It could add tens of millions of dollars of tax pressure unless the province clearly defines what the rebate to the city will be, he said.
With the largest deficit in Ontario history and HST tax, Nepean Carleton Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod called the budget an “utter failure of leadership.
“They are increasing public spending. They are increasing taxes and they have increased our deficit and our debt,” she said. “This is going to be very difficult, particularly now at a time when working families are struggling to make ends meet. (Premier Dalton McGuinty) just put the cost of living up exponentially for those folks.”
MacLeod predicted families will be spending more for heating, gas, and service bills because of the HST.