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December 2, 2010: Setting You and Ontario Up for Success.

Setting You and Ontario Up for Success.
By Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa Centre.

On November 18, our government  released the Fall Economic  Statement that included the introduction  of the Ontario Clean  Energy Benefit (OCEB), which  would provide a 10 per cent discount  to help consumers manage  rising electricity prices for the  next five years.
The OCEB would help more  than four million residential consumers  and more than 400,000  small businesses, farms and other  consumers with 10 per cent off  their total electricity bill (including  tax) every month after tax,  effective January 1, 2011. This  would help families, it would  help hard-working small business  owners, and it would make a  difference for Ontario’s farms.
Over the next five years, due  to recent infrastructural improvements,  residential electricity prices  are expected to rise by 46 per  cent, after which price increases  are expected to moderate as  Ontario will have largely completed  the transition to a cleaner,  more reliable system.
Ontarians are asking for some  assistance with rising costs, especially  their electricity costs,  and that is why we introduced  the Ontario Clean Energy  Benefit. Every little bit helps  during difficult times.
But times are getting better.  Ontario is emerging from the  global economic recession  stronger than anticipated. Key  economic indicators have improved  since the recession,  though many remain below prerecession  levels. After declining  for four consecutive quarters,  our real gross domestic product  (GDP) has increased for four  consecutive quarters. That is  good news for Ontario. By continuing  our prudent approach to  fiscal management, we are on  track for a deficit of $18.7 billion  in 2010-11. This is a $1  billion improvement over the  2010 Budget projection, and is  almost 25 per cent lower than  the $24.7 billion deficit projected  a year ago for 2009-10.
While the United States has  recovered just 10 per cent of the  jobs lost during the recession,  Ontario has recovered 75 per  cent of the jobs lost in the downturn.  Since May 2009, employment  has increased by 2.9 percent  or 186,000 net new jobs.
From 2003 to 2008, Ontario  enjoyed job creation and economic  growth. As a result of that economic  growth and our investments,  Ontario’s children are enjoying  the benefits of a stronger  education system and smaller class  sizes. Today, with the changes we  have made, nine out of 10 taxpayers  are paying less income tax than  they did a year ago, and over  180,000 jobs have been created.
Through the Open Ontario  plan, Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs  and Growth, and announcements  since the 2009 Budget, we will  provide $12 billion in tax relief to  people over three years. We have  introduced a number of new tax  credits and enhanced existing  ones to help see you and your  family through the economic recovery.  We have lowered the first  income tax bracket from 6.05  percent to 5.05 percent, making it  the lowest in Canada and delivering  an average 10 percent personal  income tax cut to 93 percent  of taxpayers. We introduced the  Ontario Sales Tax Credit, a permanent  sales tax credit of up to  $260 for low and middle-income  Ontarians, and have proposed the  Ontario Energy and Property Tax  Credit that would provide relief  for both sales tax on energy and  for property taxes for low- to  middle-income Ontarians. And  we have introduced a new  Children’s Activity Tax Credit  (CATC) to help parents with the  cost of enrolling their children in  activities that encourage them to  be healthy and active.
These initiatives are about  setting you and your family up  for success, and about creating  the kind of Ontario we all want.

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