Smith pleased with first budget

cutting red tape Flanked by Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP Daryl Kramp, left, and Belleville Chamber of Commerce executive director Jill Raycroft, Minster of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Todd Smith shares details of the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act Friday morning at the Belleville Public Library. (Todd Smith/Facebook)

Local MPP and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Todd Smith called the provincial government’s first budget, tabled last Thursday “a comprehensive and sustainable plan that balances the budget in five years, stimulates job creation, and protects critical public services that people in Bay of Quinte rely on every day.”

In a news release, Smith highlighted the new Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit he says will help low- and middle-income families with up to 75 per cent of eligible childcare costs including daycare, home-based care and camps.

He also said a provision to provide dental care access for low-income seniors is another way to lighten the load on emergency rooms. Sticking with health care, Smith noted the redevelopment of Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital was specifically mentioned in the budget document and is one of 60 in planning stages that will be funded.

The MPP also championed elements of the budget that deal with incentives for job creators and that simplify red tape across a number of sectors.

“We’re on the road to balance and we’ve done it in a reasonable way,” Smith said in an interview on 99.3 County FM’s Grapevine program that ran Monday, adding it could also save constituents money. “There are no fee increases and no tax increases. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to say that in a provincial budget.”

Smith said the first budget — a multi-year planning process — checked off 50 of the 58 promises the Progressive Conservatives made leading up to the election and noted it “reduced the budget in each ministry while increasing health care and education spending.” The document is available for reading online at budget.ontario.ca/2019/.

– Staff