Ontario budget is mixed bag for business, says Ontario Chamber Of Commerce
TORONTO - The 2013 Ontario Budget is a mixed bag for business, according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).
The OCC applauds progress on some measures that will improve Ontario's overall competitiveness. These include maintaining the current Corporate Income Tax rate, extending the Capital Cost Allowance for Manufacturers, movement on Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs), and new investments in transportation infrastructure.
Some measures are more disappointing. There is no clear plan on how government will cut program costs. The OCC firmly believes that government must transform service delivery and adopt new business models in order to protect access to public services.
Earlier this month, the OCC and Certified General Accountants of Ontario called for more private sector delivery of government services as a way to constrain costs and put Ontario back on the path to fiscal sustainability.
Further, the OCC is concerned about the government's move to interfere in pricing on auto insurance. There must be clear evidence of collusion or monopoly in the marketplace to justify this type of government intervention. The unintended consequences of this move could be harmful to the industry and ultimately consumers.
"This year's budget shows progress on many issues that matter to our members," says Allan O'Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "We applaud progress on Pooled Registered Pensions Plans, and holding the line on Corporate Income Tax will keep us competitive."
O'Dette also notes that "OCC members also realize the need for new revenue tools to fund transportation improvements in the GTHA. However, their support is not unconditional." "We need to see clear evidence that revenue tools will be dedicated to transportation improvements and that government is working hard to make service delivery more efficient," he adds.
Next week, the OCC and GTHA chambers of commerce and boards of trade will release the results of extensive consultations on revenue tools.
The OCC is also concerned that the deficit for 2013-14 is projected to be approximately $2 billion higher than in 2012-13.
"It looks like some important decisions have been deferred. We are looking for the government and opposition to work together to deliver a plan for transforming the way government works," O'Dette says.