Monday, September 03, 2007

Common Sense Revolution: Introduction

The Chief Economist at Midland Walwyn, one of Canada's most respected securities firms, concludes...

"This plan will work. The Mike Harris plan to cut provincial income tax rates by 30% and non-priority services spending by 20% will give Ontario a balanced budget within four years, and create more than 725,000 new jobs."

- Mark Mullins, Ph. D. (Economics)

The people of Ontario have a message for their politicians -- government isn't working anymore. The system is broken.

You sent that message when you handed the provincial government its dramatic defeat in 1990. You sent it in the referendum campaign in 1992. You sent it in the federal election. And yet, no one seems to be listening.

Over the last few years, I have been out talking with the people of Ontario. In Town Hall meetings, in living rooms and around kitchen tables.

I have heard your message. You are looking for a Common Sense Revolution in the way our province is run. Well, I'm prepared to actually do something about it.

It's time for government to make the same types of changes all of us have had to make in our own families and in our jobs. If we are to fix the problems in this province then government has to be prepared to make some tough decisions.

I'm not talking about tinkering, about incremental changes, or about short term solutions. After all, the changes we have all experienced in our personal lives have been much more fundamental
than that.

It's time for us to take a fresh look at government. To re-invent the way it works, to make it work for people. While many goals remain important to us -- creating jobs, providing safe communities, protecting health care -- we are governed by a system that was designed to meet the needs of the 1950's, not the challenges of the 1990's or beyond.

It's time to ask ourselves how government spending can double in the last ten years, while we seem to be getting less and less value for our tax money....

To ask ourselves why we spend more money on education than ever before, but our children aren't able to get the kind of education they need to secure a good and prosperous future....

Time to ask ourselves how we can spend more and more money fighting crime,
while our streets end up becoming more dangerous.

I have been troubled by these realities for some time. I fear Janet and I cannot hope for a better future for our children.

I want to do something about it. So, today I'm putting forth a plan to help build a better future.

There are more than half a million people unemployed in this province. The bottom line is that Ontario needs jobs. This plan will create more than 725,000 new jobs over the
next five years.

Ontario is among the highest-taxed jurisdictions in North America. There have been 65 tax increases in the past decade, including 11 hikes to your income tax.

This plan will cut your provincial income tax rate by 30%. Government spending has more than doubled in the past ten years, pushing both the tax burden and the provincial deficit higher.
This plan will reduce non-priority government spending by 20%.

Too many services essential to the public are now being cut, or are under such financial pressure that the quality of service is in danger.

This plan guarantees full funding for health care, law enforcement, and education spending in the classroom.

A decade of tax-and-spend economics has pushed our annual deficit over the $10 billion mark, mortgaging our children's future.

This plan will fully balance the budget in four years.

This is not a wish list or a bunch of empty political promises. This is a solid plan based on four years of study, analysis, consultation with workers, employers, party members and ordinary
Ontarians through extensive public hearings.

To be sure of our conclusions, we subjected this plan to an independent analysis by one of Canada's leading economic experts.

In short, our plan will work, and bring hope, opportunity and jobs back to Ontario.

There is nothing wrong with Ontario that a new vision, a new direction and turn-around management can't fix.

We can build a safe and prosperous province, but first we need a major change in the way government works.

It will not be easy, but it CAN be done, and it WILL be worth it.

In order to create the jobs we so badly need, and to renew our economy, we will have to set priorities and stick to them.

Tinkering with the system will not be enough. It is time for fundamental change, and change is never easy.

The political system itself stands in the way of making many of the changes we need right now.

Our political system has become a captive to big special interests. It is full of people who are afraid to face the difficult issues, or even talk about them. It is full of people doing all too well as a result of the status quo.

We need a revolution in this province....a Common Sense Revolution.

It will be a revolution of practical ideas for making government work better for the people it serves, and a revolution against the last ten years of government thinking when it comes to job

Ontario needs jobs today, and jobs tomorrow.

This plan will show you how this can be Ontario can once again become an economic powerhouse, full of hope, opportunity and real jobs.

If you believe, as I do, that we need lower taxes, less government and 725,000 new jobs in Ontario, I am asking you to join me in my fight for a Common Sense Revolution.

- Mike Harris

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