Over the last couple of days the McGuinty government has made a pair of announcements that will end up making them more money; an increase in license renewal fees, and the possibility of an additional casino. In principle I don’t have a problem with either; licensing charges haven’t gone up in 15 years- an argument could be made for a slight increase on that alone.. just not the full $8 that is forecast for this year. If delicately handled more casinos could work; however they come with their own set of problems in the form of gamboling addictions, etc. And as some point out the revenue generated by the casinos potentially takes money away from somewhere else.
I have a problem with the general concept these two represent. These two specific solutions make it look like the Province is simply making more money while trying to avoid a lot of the cuts. More money always helps especially if people have to spend it as in the case of license fees. It should probably be part of the solution it shouldn’t be the only solution. If the province is going to return to prosperity then it has to be a mixture of making money and cuts. It should be an increase of say $1 to licensing fees while cutting funding to the LHIN’s (or eliminating them altogether. It should be putting a Casino in while cutting or eliminating the Green Energy benefit.
The measured response has been pretty much ignored by the McGuinty government. As I cynically predicted in a previous entry they’ve ignored pretty much all of the Drummond Report. They’ve said no to charging parking fees at Go Transit lots, no to slowing the implementation of all-day kindergarten. Instead of closing a casino at Niagara Falls, they are closing slot machines at three sites (Windsor, Sarnia, and Fort Erie). The McGuinty government is also trying to negotiate a pay freeze for the elementary school teachers; if it happens it would be a significant sign they are willing to do what’s necessary to balance the books.
We ontarians are generally reasonable folks who would meet the government halfway by paying slightly increased fees. The government has to meet us halfway and put together a measured response that includes cuts, as well as increases.