Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hudak Says Conservatives Would Not Hike Taxes to Fund Public Transit

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hudak Says Conservatives Would Not Hike Taxes to Fund Public Transit

Article excerpt

No need to hike taxes to fund transit: Hudak

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TORONTO - Ontario's Progressive Conservatives would freeze implementation of full-day kindergarten and sell off government buildings to help fund public transit, but would not hike taxes, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak said Thursday.

A panel appointed by Premier Kathleen Wynne recommended boosting the gas tax by up to 10 cents a litre to fund expansion of public transit to help ease gridlock in the heavily congested Toronto-to-Hamilton corridor.

Wynne has said she's prepared to campaign on the need for new revenue tools to fund transit, but Hudak said a Tory government would fund subways, buses and infrastructure projects by changing spending priorities and cutting government staff.

"We'll lay out more details about where we're going to find savings, but we've put a lot on the table including freezing the implementation of full day kindergarten," Hudak said as he released the Tories' 15th white paper, called Building Great Cities.

All-day education for four-and five-year-olds, which costs about $1.5 billion a year, is already offered at 2,600 schools and will be fully implemented at 3,600 schools across the province by next fall.

The Tories would also sell off a non-controlling share in government-owned utilities Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One to private pension funds to generate investment and help lower costs for taxpayers.

"We've actually laid out a significant plan for how we get government spending not only under control but focused on what's truly important," said Hudak.

The Conservatives also plan to cut thousands of public service jobs to help rein in government spending and eliminate the $11.7 billion deficit as quickly as possible, he added.

"There will be significant reductions in the size and cost of government," said Hudak. "There is a lot of room for actually delivering services better at less cost and with fewer bureaucrats. …

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