Last Updated on May 13, 2022 by Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ontario Liberal party released their fully costed election platform this week, planning $16.4 billion in new spending.
The Liberal party say they plan for a balanced budget in 2025/26, but Kingston MPP candidate Ted Hsu says trying to hit that goal won’t preclude spending plans.
He says the party leader Steven Del Duca will make that deadline flexible.
“He wants to be flexible around the date at which the budget balance is released, he wants to put that secondary to people who need help,” Hsu said.
“We’re not going to cut things in order to meet that target. We have tried to budget carefully and not promise too much.”
The deadline leaves room for “unforeseen circumstances”.
The full platform breaks into sections including economy, environment, healthcare, and cost of living; highlighted by establishing the Ontario Home Building Corporation, reintroducing rent control, $16 minimum wage and development of regional living wages, student loan forgiveness for healthcare workers and free tuition for early childhood education students; supporting the federal $10 daycare program.
While not as aggressively taxing higher incomes as the NDP plans, the Liberals pledged to introduce a a surtax of one per cent on corporate profit above $1 billion and to introduce a new tax bracket in Ontario on taxable income of over $500,000 per year at a rate of 15.16 per cent.
Like the Conservatives and NDP, the Liberal party promises the building of 1.5 million homes and Hsu highlighted the party’s plan to build 138,000 “deeply affordable homes”, and putting a tax on empty homes.
Hsu says the Home Building Corporation will finance the building of more of affordable homes that investors aren’t interested in building.
“If there’s a social good attached to a project it doesn’t need to earn a market rate of return,” Hsu said.
“It’s not something that the private equity market would want because the private market has higher returns out there.”
Hsu said the Liberals will look to set up a rent to own framework, something he thinks will help both renters to take increasing partial ownership and “small landlords” who own a couple properties.
He said that many of these landlords are sometimes prevented from putting their property on the market due to fear of a difficult tenant, and an equity share would help mitigate that risk.
It would, however, drive up the cost of the average rent which Hsu acknowledged will still be inaccessible to many renters.
The party also pledged to scrap Doug Ford’s plans for Highway 413, reinvesting instead in the building and renovating of schools.
The election is slated for June 2.