Corporate tax rockbottom as education under-funding continues

100sRoll T.LamOKFinance ministers were up to their fiscal trickery last week: cooking the numbers to balance their books while our schools crumble. The feds, which slashed provincial education & health transfer payments back in the mid-80s, this week further reduced revenues by delivering 5 billion dollars in tax cuts (mostly benefiting the country’s wealthiest 15%) while also snipping 36 billion dollars from healthcare over the coming 10 years.

This is what they call neoliberal economics.  Essentially we are the ones paying for it and our consolation prize (as one journalist put it last week) is to “watch all our social programs built over the past 60 years wash away with the winter snow”.  Neoliberal thinking (dating back, btw, to the NDP education projections of early 90s) is obviously quite firmly entrenched not just in Ottawa, but over at Queens Park.

So…here in Ontario, where funding of public education has never recovered from the deep Harris cuts, the Province is dealing with its 10.9 billion dollar deficit by selling off public infrastructure, cost-cutting on the backs of public servants and “consolidating” schools.  The impact of 20 years of tax cuts in Ontario is that we are missing out on 19 billion dollars in revenue. No surprise that Ontario’s corporate tax rate remains one of the lowest in North America.

No surprise either that the Province is playing hardball in contract negotiations with teachers.

No surprise that there’s still no job strategy beyond crappy jobs for kids leaving school.

In the coming years, spending just won’t be keeping up either with inflation or with population growth.  This despite public services needing people to deliver the services. Education needing education workers in schools & communities.

CCPA, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, reports that after Thursday’s Ontario budget education will suffer even more than healthcare from under-funding.

Again, no surprise. Kathleen Wynne told CPE 9 yrs ago, “There’ll be no more money for education”.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, to implement its cost-cutting plans, the Province jumped on an apparent crisis in school board governance just 2 months following the election of 11 brand new school Trustees, cunningly feeding a public & media perception of serious dysfunction and “infighting” at the TDSB.

Spring has brought us simulated provincial consultations on both a) governance and b) reconfiguring schools as hubs

Toronto’s citizenry is now faced with a 3-pronged attack on Canada’s largest schoolboard.

  1. The Education Minister’s winter “directives” which have further reduced Trustee democracy
  2. The forced sale of publicly purchased school board infrastructure
  3. And the Barbara Hall panel aimed at sub-dividing the TDSB into 4 smaller boards possibly elected at large, not by ward constituents.